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Diamondbacks offense can’t produce in series finale loss to Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ketel Marte watches his single against the Cincinnati Reds in the third inning during a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks let their playoff chances slip further away as they dropped the finale of their series with the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 on Sunday for their first series loss at Chase Field since Aug. 18.

Arizona has now lost seven of its last eight games.

Starting pitcher Zac Gallen allowed three home runs in a game for the first time in his career, and the D-backs offense was once again missing in action — they’ve scored just nine runs in thee last seven games.

Entering Sunday, Gallen ranked first in MLB with the fewest home runs allowed per 9.0 innings pitched since his debut on June 20 at 0.61 per nine innings pitched and had only given up five home runs in 14 starts this season.

Both pitchers cruised early again, with Gallen only allowing a walk to Aristides Aquino through three innings pitched.

The D-backs offense was on standby again until the third inning when Alex Avila would reach base on a walk, advance on a sacrifice bunt by Gallen, and be brought home by an RBI single from Wilmer Flores for the first run of the game for either team.

But the Reds immediately answered back in the fourth with a pair of back-to-back home runs off Gallen by Josh VanMeter and Eugenio Suarez to give Cincinnati the lead back.

Suarez wasn’t done with Gallen, though. In the sixth, he took the rookie deep again for a monster home run to left field, his second of the day and his 47th of the season.

Gallen then gave up a single to Aquino in the inning — who was able to advance to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch — and a walk to Michael Lorenzen, which ended his day.

The rookie lasted 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Prior to this start, Gallen had only allowed two home runs in 38 innings as a member of the Diamondbacks.

This was his second consecutive start of allowing 3+ earned runs. Gallen is one of two starting pitchers in National League history to allow three earned runs or fewer in each of his first 15 career games.

“I was just trying not to make mistakes with men on base,” Gallen said after the game. “My job is to go out there and just keep us in it. I know they talk about a quality start is three runs. I just try to keep it within one swing of the bat.”

The D-backs were able to produce nothing else against the Reds’ pitching staff. Ketel Marte had two of the team’s four hits while Eduardo Escobar was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. Arizona was only able to muster up two more harmless singles after the third inning.

Torey Lovullo didn’t have many explanations for the lack of office other than the looming postseason race.

“There’s pressure with what we’re going through right now, and it’s exciting. And I don’t want the pressure or the anxiety of what’s going on to override their ability to go out and execute. I think that’s what good players are able to do.”

UP NEXT

The D-backs welcome the Miami Marlins to Chase Field for a three-game series starting on Monday. Robbie Ray will be on the hill for game one. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Ray comes into the start with a four-game winning streak at home, which is tied for the longest home streak of his career. He is 12-8 in 30 starts this season with a 4.30 ERA and 208 strikeouts. With two starts left in the season, he is on pace to break his career mark in strikeouts of 218, which he has hit twice.

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