Big 9th inning too little, too late for D-backs in defeat against Padres
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks scored four runs in the ninth inning but fell 10-5 against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on Sunday.
The lopsided second inning was a perfect encapsulation of the afternoon in many ways, as walking batters, fielding and hitting with runners on base plagued Arizona for much of the ballgame.
An error by second baseman Ketel Marte to start the frame and two walks by starting pitcher Caleb Smith set up Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar with the bases loaded. The switch-hitter batting from the right side nailed a grand slam on a hanging slider.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro came up next and drilled another slider deep to left-center field to go back-to-back.
A third walk ended Smith’s day with no outs after he threw a scoreless nine-pitch first inning.
“Lost feel for my pitches and lost command of the strike zone,” Smith said postgame. “Just couldn’t regain that before things started getting out of control.”
Reliever Corbin Martin kept the damage minimal by stranding runners on the corners.
D-backs third baseman Drew Ellis came up with two outs in the bottom half of the inning and struck out with runners on second and third.
The D-backs went 0-for-9 with ducks on the pond before breaking through in the ninth.
Former American League Cy Young winner and left-handed pitcher Blake Snell was slated to start for San Diego but got scratched just before the game with left abductor tightness.
The right-handed Nabil Crismatt came in against a left-handed-heavy D-backs order and stranded three runners in scoring position over the first two innings, finishing both frames with punch outs. He threw three scoreless innings to kickstart the unplanned bullpen game.
As the D-backs floundered in opportunities to score early, the Padres continued to pile on. They scored five runs in innings 4-6 in part due to walks, an error by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and two wild pitches from Martin.
“I think we’ve pitched the ball better, we can pick the ball up better, we can eliminate runs being scored,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “Just not playing the type of defense that I expect us to play. Three unearned runs, to me, it’s unacceptable. That game should have been a lot closer than it was.”
The score was 10-0 before Arizona first baseman Christian Walker hit a no-doubt solo shot in the sixth inning.
Arizona produced more hits in the ninth than the first eight frames combined with three, capped off with a three-run blast by Cooper Hummel to center field.
It was the rookie’s first career hit, a highlight for the team on an otherwise forgettable afternoon.
Cooper Hummel – Arizona Diamondbacks (1) pic.twitter.com/4JSsNVTXND
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 10, 2022
“I can’t say that it was on my mind that at-bat, but there’s plenty of times I’ve sat at home and thought about it and thought how cool it would have been to have my first hit be a home run,” Hummel told reporters postgame. “It’s more surreal than when I visualized it.”
Right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver went on the 10-day injured list Sunday for elbow inflammation. Lovullo said there were red flags with Weaver’s velocity during his outing on Thursday.
“He was feeling a little bit of tightness in his elbow,” Lovullo said.
Weaver will get some imaging for more information. The D-backs in turn recalled left-handed pitcher Kyle Nelson, who threw two scoreless innings against the Padres on Sunday.
Shortstop Nick Ahmed is progressing well, Lovullo updated. The veteran infielder is on the 10-day IL with a shoulder issue.
“I had a brief conversation with him yesterday and he’s in a really good spot,” Lovullo said. “When he is back on the field and starts to get some real live activity and take it to the next level, I’m not sure when that’s going to start but he’s getting close.”
The D-backs host the Houston Astros for two games starting Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. You can catch the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.