Sedona Red Recap: Marlins’ Mat Latos stumps D-backs in loss

Jul 21, 2015, 10:52 PM | Updated: 10:53 pm
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PHOENIX — As they say, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposition.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, however, have done that one too many times this season.

The latest to receive their praise was right-hander Mat Latos, who pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Miami Marlins in a 3-0 win in front of an announced Tuesday night crowd of 16,983 at Chase Field.

The victory, the Marlins’ first in six tries against the D-backs this season, evened the series at a game apiece.

Latos (4-6) combined with two relievers on the shutout, the first the D-backs have experienced since May 17.

He scattered four hits, while striking out seven with only one walk issued.

Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock had two of the hits, while the rest of the team went a combined 2-for-22 against Latos, who had been scratched from his last start due to a sore right foot.

It was a blister on the right thumb of D-backs pitcher Jeremy Hellickson that had forced him to exit his last outing after only four innings. But he showed no effects from what can be now called a minor setback.

Hellickson retired 13 in a row before allowing an RBI single to Adeiny Hechavarria in the fifth. Two innings later, Michael Morse tagged him for a solo home run.

Aside from those two mistakes, Hellickson (6-6) was money, giving up the pair of runs on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in seven innings, only the second time in 18 starts he’s completed a full seven frames.

The D-backs have dropped seven of eight.

The Marlins ended a four-game losing streak.

THE GOOD

Blister? What blister? Hellickson opened the game with four consecutive strikes and threw a first-pitch strike to three of the four batters faced in the first inning. He continued to consistently get ahead in the count, beginning 0-1 to 18 of the 26 batters faced in the game.

In his second at-bat, Pollock laced a 1-0 fastball into left field for a two-out single, his first hit of the series and sixth of the homestand. The play extended his streak of reaching base safely to 17 straight games. Pollock added a two-out single to right field in the fifth inning to record his eighth multi-hit effort in his last 15 games (.344). Pollock also has now hit safely in 12 of his last 15 home games at a .333 clip (21-for-63).

More Pollock. He stole his 20th base of the season with two outs in the fifth inning, swiping third base without even drawing a throw. The 20 steals are the most by a D-back since 2011 (Willie Bloomquist). Pollock has now joined the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon as only major leaguers with 10 or more home runs, and 20 stolen bases this season.

Down to his final at-bat of the game, David Peralta ripped a single up the middle, extending his hitting streak to five games as a cleanup hitter. The at-bat also kept alive a streak of reaching base safely in what is now 22 straight starts in which he is batting .329 (27-for-82).

THE BAD

All good things must come to an end, and for Hellickson, the end came in the fifth inning. With two outs, J.T. Realmuto hit a sharp grounder up the third base line, past a diving Jake Lamb and on into the left field corner for a double. Prior to the play, Hellickson had retired 13 straight. After a steal of third, Realmuto scored on Hechavarria’s single up the middle to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead.

For the fifth time in his career, Morse homered against the D-backs. In the seventh inning, he led off by lining a 2-2, 90-mph fastball up and over the right field fence to extend the Marlins lead to 2-0. It was Morse’s fourth home run of the season and second this month. Hellickson, meanwhile, surrendered his 14th of the year, moving into a tie with Josh Collmenter for the second-most on the team.

Striking out in what would be his final at-bat of the game in the eighth inning, Chris Owings’ five-game hitting streak came to an end. He went hitless in four plate appearances, including a pair of strikeouts, his 82nd and 83rd of the season. Owings entered the game hitting .367 (11-for-30) over his last five games.

It appeared someone or something pulled the plug on the D-backs center field scoreboard. The entire screen went dark in the top of the fourth inning. “We are experiencing technical difficulties with the main computer,” it was announced over the public address system. The scoreboard returned, albeit without all the bells and whistles, in the seventh.

STAT OF THE GAME

5: The number of times the D-backs have been shutout this season, the last time coming on May 17 at Philadelphia

HE SAID IT

“He pitched well, very well. Kept the ball down,” manager Chip Hale said of Latos. “We had a hard time hitting him. I always say the hitters tell you something about the pitcher and we have good hitters, so he did a nice job.”

NOTED

– Latos improved to 4-0 with a 1.33 ERA (6 ER in 40.2 IP) in six career starts at Chase Field.

– Prior to batting practice the D-backs took their annual team and front office photo.

– Hitting coach Turner Ward officially graduated from University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Management, a degree he’s been working towards since he was a minor league coach in 2010.

– On this date in 1999, Tony Womack had the only inside-the-park grand slam in D-backs history, an eighth-inning, bases-clearing homer off Houston’s Billy Wagner in a 7-4 win at the Astrodome.

UP NEXT

The three-game series concludes Wednesday with left-hander Robbie Ray making his 10th D-backs start of the season. He’ll be matched up against right-hander Jose Fernandez.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Ray (3-4) is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA (2 ER in 12.2 IP) in his last two starts, and he is coming off a five-inning no-decision effort against San Francisco five days ago.

Overall, Ray’s 2.29 ERA is fifth among National League starters — with a minimum of five starts — behind Zack Greinke (1.30), Taylor Jungmann (2.04), Max Scherzer (2.09) and Jacob De Grom (2.14).

He’s holding righties to a .219 average and opponents to a .167 mark with runners in scoring position.

Ray has never faced the Marlins.

Fernandez, meanwhile, will be taking the mound for the fourth time post-Tommy John surgery. He’s 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts, having beaten both San Francisco and Cincinnati.

Fernandez threw six innings and allowed two runs on four hits his last time out but did not factor in the decision at Philadelphia on July 17.

He’s struck out 21 and walked one in 19 innings this season.

In his one and only career appearance against the D-backs, Fernandez gave up two runs on three hits in 7.1 innings, suffering the loss back in 2013.

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