D-backs can’t capitalize on solid pitching as bats struggle in loss vs. Astros
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks just can’t seem to get it going offensively.
Despite another solid showing from the D-backs pitching staff on Monday night, Arizona only mustered one run on four hits in a 2-1 loss to the Houston Astros at Chase Field.
Arizona was able to garner four walks to get baserunners on, but the team left a total of eight on base and was an abysmal 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
“I think we’re getting into a count and we work hard to get to that count, then have a predetermined thought where we’re just going to shoot for the jackpot,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “I still think we got to learn to be stubborn through the entire count.”
The lone run on the night for the Diamondbacks came off the bat of Christian Walker, who hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the sixth for his second big fly of the season.
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Zac Gallen was originally slated to start the ballgame, but was scratched on Monday due to a cut on his thumb after he pinched it in an electrical box in what Lovullo called a “freak household accident.”
Instead, D-backs starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner threw five-plus innings two batters and allowed five hits, one earned run on a solo homer and struck out two while walking two on 77 pitches (47 strikes).
“It was short but I thought it was pretty good,” Bumgarner said postgame. “Cutter was good, never really got the curveball going but the fastball and cutter was good. We really didn’t need to do a lot more really, so those two kind of really carried us tonight.”
Bumgarner has now combined to throw for eight-plus innings in his first two pitch-capped starts of the year due to a shortened spring training. In those two outings, he has only allowed two earned runs on six hits (one home run) while striking out four and walking four.
“I think historically I start the season pretty bad,” Bumgarner said. “April’s not been very good for me. At this point right now I feel it’s probably one of the best first two starts even though that’s one start’s worth of innings. But for me starting the year off that’s pretty good.”
The bullpen came on in relief of Bumgarner and combined for 4.0 innings pitched, allowing one earned run on three hits and three walks. Noe Ramirez, J.B. Wendelken, Joe Mantiply and Ian Kennedy combined for three scoreless innings, but Mark Melancon gave up the winning run in the top of the ninth on a Michael Brantley RBI single.
“Noe did a great job — got a double-play ball to get us out of that inning,” Lovullo said. “And then we got a couple more really strong innings out of the bullpen and got a chance to play some catch up with a big home run from Walker and we were anticipating extra innings, just unfortunately couldn’t get there.”
The D-backs host the Astros in a matinee series finale at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM or 98.7 FM HD-2.
Arizona’s Merrill Kelly is slated to start against Houston lefty Framber Valdez.