ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Patrick Corbin, again, unlucky; D-backs bullpen hammered in defeat

Jul 4, 2018, 11:44 PM | Updated: Jul 5, 2018, 7:09 am

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin throws during the first inning of the team's baseball g...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — The relationship between the pitcher and catcher is an important one. Very important. It’s why managers are hesitant to make a change in the chemistry, unless necessary.

Two weeks ago, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo believed such a change was necessary to perhaps right Patrick Corbin, who had seen his ERA balloon to nearly three-and-a-half following a four-start stretch in which he had allowed 17 runs in 23.2 innings pitched.

Enter Jeff Mathis behind the plate.

The move paid off, and it continued to reap the benefits on Wednesday.

Corbin recorded his third straight quality start with Mathis catching, though it came in a loss, 8-4, to the St. Louis Cardinals, who with the victory clinched the three-game series, in front of sold out Fourth of July crowd of 44,072 at Chase Field.

The good news, at least for Corbin, is that he did not suffer the defeat. No, that went to Yoshihisa Hirano (2-1) who was on the mound when the Cardinals scored five times in the seventh inning — highlighted by a three-run home run by Yadier Molina — to overcome a 2-1 deficit.

Pitching three years to the day in which he made his return from Tommy John surgery, Corbin was saddled with the no decision, his third in a row, despite limiting the Cardinals to one run on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings.

His ERA over these last three outings is a miniscule 0.95 (2 ER in 19.0 IP).

Overall, it’s been six starts since Corbin last visited the win column, and you have to go all the way back to April 22 to find his last home win.

The D-backs have now dropped back-to-back series, losing five of six, to see their lead in the National League West over the L.A. Dodgers reduced to a half-game.

THE GOOD

Twice in the first three innings Corbin escaped trouble after allowing the leadoff batter aboard. In the first, Matt Carpenter hit a double — the ball bouncing off the first-base bag and over the head of Paul Goldschmidt into shallow right field — yet did not move. Corbin retired the next three batters, including a pair of strikeouts. Then in the second, the first two batters reached base safely only to see Corbin, again, go 1-2-3 on the next three batters.

Give an assist to the Cardinals defense on the D-backs first run of the game. With two outs in the fourth inning, Jon Jay singled to left field. Jarrod Dyson, on second base, was waved home by third base coach Tony Perezchica but Dyson slipped rounding the bag. No worries. Dyson ended up scoring on a throwing error, when Carpenter threw the ball away trying to cut down Jay who was heading to second base. It was the Cardinals 70th error of the season.

Staying in the fourth inning, and after an intentional walk to Goldschmidt, his fifth of the season, Jake Lamb lined a 2-2 curveball into center field to plate Jay with the D-backs second two-out run off Mikolas. The single extended Lamb’s hitting streak to four straight games. He finished 1-for-4 with a walk and has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games at a .340 clip (17-for-50) with four doubles, one home run, six RBI and eight walks.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving, the Cardinals defense. Another error, their 71st of the season, and again it’s Carpenter, though this time playing first base, and the D-backs had their third run of the game. With runners on first and second in the seventh inning, Daniel Descalso hit into a fielder’s choice, with Carpenter’s wild throw to second base landing in the outfield allowing Lamb to score to make it a 6-3 ballgame.

THE BAD

Two of the D-backs first five hitters earned walks against Miles Mikolas, who entering the game had not issued more than two free passes in any start this season. Unfortunately, the D-backs, who went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the inning, were unable to capitalize. They left the bases loaded when Ketel Marte lined out softly to the shortstop.

Finally all that flirting with trouble caught up to Corbin and the D-backs in the fifth inning. With one out, Carpenter doubled, his second of the game and 26th of the season, and Tommy Pham followed with a single, hitting a 1-0 fastball into center field for an RBI, cutting the D-backs lead in half, 2-1. It was Pham’s second hit of the series and first RBI.

Two pitches into his seventh-inning appearance and Hirano had his franchise-record 26-game scoreless streak (22.2 innings), the longest active streak in the Majors, snapped. Yairo Munoz hit a 1-0 fastball over the outstretched glove of Dyson in right-center field for a home run. Three batters later Pham added an RBI single to put the Cardinals ahead for the first time, 3-2.

Oh, but the Cardinals were not done. Three more runs would cross home plate in the seventh. After Hirano was removed, Fernando Salas entered and promptly surrendered a two-out, three-run home run to Molina, who hit a first-pitch 91.6 mph fastball over the right-field fence. Salas, who pitched just one-third of an inning, would be tagged for two more runs in the eighth.

STAT OF THE GAME

4: The number of runs Hirano allowed, though only one was earned; he entered the game having surrendered just five runs (all earned) in 41 games/37.0 innings this season

HE SAID IT

“Just an unfortunate thing for him. He threw the ball extremely well,” Lovullo said. “You feel like you have everything setup just the way you want it with the back-end of your bullpen ready, and Yoshi made a pitch and got clipped. That’s the nature of this game. It’s a tough game.”

NOTED

Corbin threw a first-pitch strike to 16 of the 25 batters he faced; plus, he reached a 3-ball count five times.

Jay finished 3-for-5, recording his first multi-hit game since June 23 and ninth overall since joining Arizona.

Dyson exited the game, and was replaced by A.J. Pollock, after hurting his right groin in the seventh inning.

David Peralta went 2-for-5, and he is now batting .325 (41-for-126) with 10 walks over his last 32 games.

D-backs dropped to 11-10 all-time when playing on the Fourth of July, including a 3-6 mark at Chase Field.

With a first-pitch temperature of 106 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and panels closed.

As part of the July 4th celebration, the D-backs wore specially designed Stars & Stripes uniforms and caps.

UP NEXT

The San Diego Padres make their first appearance at Chase Field since the first month of the season.

It’s a four-game series to close out this season-long 10-game homestand, and it will be Shelby Miller and Eric Lauer in the opener on Thursday, July 5. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

This marks Miller’s third start post-Tommy John surgery. The first two have been ones to forget, allowing at least five runs in each outing. He carries an 11.42 ERA (11 ER in 8.2 IP) with three home runs, three walks and 11 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Lauer, a left-handed throwing rookie, is coming off a home loss to the Pirates in which he was tagged for six runs, three earned however, on nine hits, including a home run, in five innings.

Lauer (3-5) is winless over his last three starts.

The D-backs are 2-1 against the Padres this season.

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Patrick Corbin, again, unlucky; D-backs bullpen hammered in defeat