D-backs pitching falls flat, bats wake up too late in loss to Royals
Apr 25, 2023, 10:50 PM
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitching staff was dismantled by the Kansas City Royals’ small ball in a 5-4 loss at Chase Field on Tuesday night in front of 13,835 fans.
Arizona (13-12) was beaten to the tune of 14 hits by the Kansas City (6-18) offense.
The Royals were tied for the worst record in the American League entering Tuesday, but outplayed the D-backs from the opening pitch.
Arizona once again fell behind in the first inning, the team’s 25th run allowed in the first frame this season — the third most in major leagues.
“We have to be ready to pitch. With all due respect to our opposition, we have to put it on us,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame.
“When we take care of business and the focus is on our dugout, our team, and we are doing what we can do, we control the climate. I think we come out a little wobbly at times and we have given up a lot of early runs and are playing uphill baseball.”
Righty Ryne Nelson took the mound for the D-backs and had a 27-pitch first inning with three singles in the frame — all on hard contact.
Despite the early lead for Kansas City, Nelson rallied and showed a good mix of his fastball, slider and changeup with a few curveballs in the first three innings.
“Feel like I was throwing the ball OK, just couldn’t make good pitches when I needed to and left some stuff up and they strung a lot of hits together,” Nelson said postgame.
When asked about what he could do to improve on this game in what is now his fourth shaky start in five appearances, the righty had a quick answer.
“Get more outs.”
Although, Nelson’s defense did not have his back in the early portion of the game.
Second baseman Ketel Marte struggled mightily on Tuesday night, throwing a one-hop to Christian Walker (ruled a hit), missing a tough ball up the middle (ruled a hit) and bobbling a ball on a routine double play turn.
In addition, Marte went 0-5 from the plate with three strikeouts (one looking) and left four men on base. He had a chance for revenge in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run at third base, but popped up to short on the first pitch of the at-bat.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also had two balls fly over his head in left field that were not easy plays, but could have been made.
“Day game tomorrow, I don’t want it to roll over into the day game tomorrow so we have to come out and play a clean game. Certain things we did right today and some wrong, and we have to tighten those things up,” Lovullo said postgame.
Arizona’s bats were quiet the first way through the lineup, with Pavin Smith and Alek Thomas providing two singles as the offense.
In the top of the fourth inning, Corbin Carroll smashed a ball to deep center for a triple that he ultimately scored on via a Christian Walker RBI groundout.
And if you haven’t heard this before, Carroll is fast.
Carroll went home to third in just 10.97 seconds, the fastest time in the majors this season, according to MLB Pipeline.
Corbin Carroll was ZOOMING on this triple.
The @Dbacks rookie went home-to-third in just 10.97 seconds, the fastest time in the Majors this season! pic.twitter.com/KBh1tU0fVm
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 26, 2023
The rookie led the charge for Arizona’s offense, smacking a single, double, triple and earned a walk in five at-bats.
He also swiped two more bags to bring his season total to a team-leading 10 steals.
With Gurriel on second base in the same inning, Gabriel Moreno hit a missile that would have easily scored the man on second, but Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino climbed the ladder to deliver an absolute web gem, ending the frame.
Vinnie’s got hops.#WelcomeToTheCity pic.twitter.com/eUI0qDOGQ3
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) April 26, 2023
Kansas City got to Nelson the third time through the lineup, with every batter seemingly getting loud contact at the plate.
After recording the first out of the fifth inning, Nelson allowed a single, double, single and a sac-fly.
Arizona’s offense came alive in the seventh when former D-backs reliever Taylor Clarke took the mound for the Royals.
Smith grounded out to first, Moreno hit a single and Alek Thomas and Geraldo Perdomo earned nine- and seven-pitch walks, respectively, to load the bases for Josh Rojas.
Rojas launched a hard-hit ball to bring in Moreno, but the Diamondbacks could only muster one run in the frame after Marte struck out to end the side.
In total, Arizona left 17 runners on base in the contest.
The Royals added an insurance run in the eighth on a triple by Kyle Isbel and an eventual wild pitch from D-backs relief pitcher Anthony Misiewicz.
That insurance run became the difference maker as Arizona brought the score back to 5-4 and got a leadoff double from Perdomo to keep the game alive, but ultimately never crossed home plate.
The Diamondbacks saw five batters reach base safely in the eighth and ninth innings, but only mustered two runs for too little offense too late.
The D-backs look to take the rubber match against the Royals at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM / 98.7 FM HD-2, the ArizonaSports app and ArizonaSports.com.