Grit Index: Error haunts Spruill, D-backs in 9-5 loss to Mets
PHOENIX — If baseball games were only decided by earned runs, the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets would have played extra innings on Sunday at Chase Field.
Unfortunately for Zeke Spruill and the Diamondbacks, however, a rare Paul Goldschmidt error in the first inning ultimately cost the team four runs in their 9-5 loss to the Mets.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning, Spruill managed to induce a groundball off the bat of Mets right fielder Mike Baxter. The ball hopped down the first base line, where Goldschmidt charged and ultimately missed it, as it skipped under his glove and against the wall in shallow right field.
Baxter reached safely, with all of Juan Lagares, who singled, David Murphy and Ike Davis, who both walked, scoring on the misplay. Mets catcher Anthony Recker doubled him home in the following at-bat, adding a fourth unearned run to the scoreboard.
Half an inning into the game, the score read thusly: Runs: 4-0; earned runs: 0-0.
Spruill would surrender an earned run later in the game, when Davis scored on an Omar Quintanilla single in the third inning, but his team failed to provide the support necessary to overcome the deficit created in the first inning.
Leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock turned in a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, scoring twice. Cleanup man Aaron Hill, meanwhile, knocked a three-run homer in the 3rd inning for one of his two hits on the day — also doubling in another run in the first inning.
That — the first inning — seemed to hold most of the game’s storylines. Not only did the big error at first base occur in the inning, but leftfielder Cody Ross ended the inning with a groundout that sent him to the hospital.
On Ross’ inning-ending, potentially season-ending, groundout, the 32-year-old stumbled down the line before collapsing across the first base bag. There, a few feet behind the bag, he laid with what was later revealed to be a dislocated right hip. He was lifted on a stretcher by paramedics, who carted him off the field.
X-rays were performed at the stadium, before Ross was transported to the hospital, where his hip was popped back into place. The results have the x-rays have yet to be released, but manager Kirk Gibson said after the game that he expected the injury would keep Ross out for the rest of the season.
Replacing Ross in left field for the second inning was Martin Prado, who started the game at third base. Matt Davidson, who was officially called up earlier Sunday, with Eric Chavez being placed on the 15-day DL, took over at third base for his major league debut. The 22-year-old, who was the Futures Game MVP at the Mets’ Citi Field earlier this summer had arrived just in time for the National Anthem and told reporters after the game that he hadn’t slept at all the night before.
Like Saturday night, the Diamondbacks bullpen faltered late, turning a one-run deficit into something greater.
This time, with David Hernandez off the big league roster, it was Will Harris and Joe Thatcher who were to blame. Harris inherited two of Thatcher’s runners when he came in to face Mets’ pinch hitter Andrew Brown. A three-run home run followed, giving the Mets an 8-4 lead in the 7th.
Despite scoring once and generating a one-out rally the following inning, Hill was unable to duplicate his early-game heroics, grounding into a double play with two on to end the inning.
Second baseman Aaron Hill is really heating up over his last 13 games. In 51 at-bats dating back to July 25, Hill has 20 hits, giving him a .392 batting average. Half of those hits are for extra bases, complementing a .417 on-base percentage nicely. Hill also has 12 RBI during the streak.
Entering play Sunday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers now have a seven-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
He Said It:
“We made an error. Goldy uncharacteristic, led to four unearned runs. We battled back, but bullpen was unable to shut them down. We had our own opportunities to come back in the game and didn’t get the job done there. Then you lose your two guys, both veterans, guys you kind of rely on this time of year, so it will be a tough regroup for us, but we’ll have to do so.” -Manager Kirk Gibson on the Diamondbacks’ tough day
– Nieves has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, after his pinch-hit single in the 8th inning on Sunday
– 3B Eric Chavez was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Sunday’s game, with Matt Davidson getting the call-up.
– RHP David Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Reno following Saturday’s game and the Diamondbacks recalled LHP Eury de la Rosa in a corresponding move.
On Monday, the Diamondbacks send Wade Miley (9-8, 3.56 ERA) to the mound to open their home series against the Baltimore Orioles, who will counter with Scott Feldman (2-3, 5.70 ERA). Miley is 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA in seven starts since July 1. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.