For the Arizona Diamondbacks, the best news to come out of Thursday’s game is that they won’t have to face the St. Louis Cardinals anymore this season. Why is that such a big deal? Well, following a 5-3 defeat in front of 22,036 fans at Chase Field, the D-backs are now 0-7 against manager Mike Matheny’s club in 2015.
Arizona fell behind early, as St. Louis touched up Rubby De La Rosa for a run in the first and two more in the second. But the D-backs rallied, using four singles and a walk to manufacture a trio of runs in the bottom of the second.
The offense dried up after that though, mustering just two hits the rest of the way.
For the most part, Arizona got decent pitching after the second inning, however De La Rosa surrendered a two-run home run in the fifth that proved to be the difference. The D-backs have played the MLB-leading Cardinals close this season, with all but one game decided by two runs or less. But that’s of little consolation to manager Chip Hale’s squad, who now need to regroup in a hurry. It’s never fun to get swept, but this series came at a particularly pivotal time — knocking Arizona all the way to 8.5 games back in the NL West standings.
– Paul Goldschmidt reminded everyone of his fielding prowess in the first, lunging to rob Brandon Moss of a hit and saving at least one run in the process.
– Ender Inciarte picked up two more RBI in the second when he singled home Welington Castillo and Aaron Hill to tie the game. He now has 10 RBI in August, and a career-high 38 on the year.
– Addison Reed helped the D-backs out of a jam in the top of the seventh, entering with the bases loaded and striking out Tony Cruz to end the inning and keep Arizona within striking distance.
– Eight of the first nine pitches De La Rosa threw to start the game were balls, immediately putting the first two Cardinals hitters on base. Matt Carpenter was one of those hitters, and he eventually scored the first run of the game.
– After De La Rosa seemed to settle down a little, Cruz led off the second by crushing a 2-0 pitch to deep left for his first home run of the year.
– The D-backs came out on the wrong end of a very close review two batters after the Cruz home run, when Carlos Martinez attempted to sacrifice Greg Garcia over to second base. De La Rosa scooped up the ball, whirled and threw to second instead of just taking the sure out at first. Garcia was initially ruled safe, but appeared replay views seemed to suggest he might be out after all. Following a four-minute, 47-second review, however, he was once again called safe. Naturally, he came around to score the Cardinals’ third run.
– Following an Arizona rally to tie the game at three apiece, Moss drove a pitch over the right field wall to give St. Louis a 5-3 lead in the fifth. That would prove to be the game-winning hit.
– The D-backs looked to be putting something together in the bottom of the eighth when the first three batters all walked. But with bases loaded and no outs, the next three Arizona hitters failed to even get the ball out of the infield.
STAT OF THE GAME
5: The total number of runners the Diamondbacks left on base in the eighth and ninth innings. They loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, then put runners on first and second with two outs in the ninth. No one ever crossed home plate though.
HE SAID IT
“It’s just a frustrating game. When you’re going good, honestly, you know, you’re out there and you have the same approach as when you’re going bad. Sometimes you hit balls at people and you can’t figure… sometimes you’re hitting so many balls at people when you’re playing a really good team like that and it’s just a frustrating game. It really will eat you up, and you just got to do everything you can to just keep coming back every day.” – A.J. Pollock
– This was De La Rosa’s first loss in his last eight starts and just his third defeat in his last 14 appearances.
With the St. Louis series wrapped up, Arizona will begin a three-game interleague set with the Oakland Athletics on Friday. Chase Anderson gets the call in game one for the Diamondbacks, while the A’s counter with ace Sonny Gray. First pitch is slated for 6:40 p.m. at Chase Field, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Anderson (6-5) has picked up just two wins since June, but one came in his most recent outing. The 27-year old righty tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory over the Reds in Cincinnati on Aug. 23. Friday will be the first time he has ever pitched against Oakland.
Meanwhile, Gray (12-5) is enjoying one of the best seasons of any pitcher in the Majors. His 2.10 ERA and 0.98 WHIP are the best among qualified AL hurlers right now, and his two complete game shutouts are tied for the league lead. He earned a no-decision in his last start, allowing three runs over eight innings in a 5-4 loss to Tampa on Aug. 22. Arizona is one of 10 MLB clubs that Gray has never faced.