Defensive gaffe costs Diamondbacks in 10-inning loss to Phillies
Jun 14, 2023, 10:53 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2023, 9:15 am
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — For the third time in four days, it was happening. Again.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were going to rally to a win. Christian Walker’s three-run dinger in the eighth inning on a fairly dull offensive night for the D-backs tied the game after Sunday’s four runs in the ninth to beat Detroit Tigers and eight unanswered runs on Monday to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies.
But instead, another pattern emerged. For the second straight night, the D-backs weren’t themselves defensively, and this time an uncharacteristic blunder cost them the game in a 4-3 10-inning loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
“With how well we do the little things each night, this one jumps at you and surprises you,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.
In the top of the 10th inning with one out and the Manfred Man on second for Philly, a short fly ball was hit to right field.
D-backs second baseman Geraldo Perdomo was tracking it the whole way, waiving everyone off and shouting over the last few seconds before it landed. Jake McCarthy, the right fielder, was calling for it audibly himself.
He and Perdomo collided, letting the ball drop on what was initially ruled as a double before getting corrected to an error on McCarthy.
The Manfred Man was waiting at second base to tag up, so no run came across until a sacrifice fly on the next at-bat.
McCarthy confirmed he did hear Perdomo but Perdomo didn’t hear him.
“I just gotta be louder. I take responsibility for it,” McCarthy said.
Lovullo clarified after the game that it’s typically the outfielder’s priority for that ball but also saw McCarthy get a late break, as opposed to Perdomo’s great line on it. He believes Perdomo saw McCarthy early but not late, even though McCarthy was still going to comfortably catch it, like Perdomo. Most will claim they know who to point the finger at but there’s a bit of gray area there.
Regardless, the manager pointed out that’s something the D-backs drill constantly in spring training and the “no man’s land” balls are standard procedure. It’s a play that has to be made and ended up as the difference on Wednesday. And with Arizona’s playoff positioning, if it misses out on a key spot by one game, this will be the one to think of.
“To get to where we want to go and play October baseball, I’ll tell you right now, every stadium that you play in is going to be louder than anything we’ve ever heard so far this year,” Lovullo said.
Arizona’s crack at it in the bottom of the 10th resulted in runners on first and second with one out. Pinch-hitter Gabriel Moreno struck out, leaving star outfielder Corbin Carroll with his latest chance to be a hero in his first at-bat of the game. Carroll initially got the day off before coming in as a defensive substitution in the ninth.
But Phillies left-hander Jose Alvarado, who is now up to just two earned runs in 17.1 innings, threw five straight 100-mph sinkers that eventually brought on the game-ending groundout.
This is one of those games that would have been nice for the D-backs to win because starting pitcher Merrill Kelly grinded through a night where he didn’t have his best while still managing to put Arizona in a winnable position.
The Phillies got a runner in scoring position with no outs for each of the first three innings. The damage was only two runs, thanks to Kelly holding Philly to 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Kelly tossed 58 pitches to get through it and then retired nine straight batters till there was one out in the sixth inning. J.T. Realmuto ended that streak with a no-doubter solo shot to left off a hanging curveball. Kelly sent down the next two hitters, so he’d get six innings out of his start. It’s now the eighth start for Kelly in his last nine when he’s thrown at least six innings.
“I think in this league, anytime you can get a quality start, it’s a win. … Especially with how the game started today, it could have went a lot worse, could have went a lot further south a lot quicker,” Kelly said.
Philadelphia starter Ranger Suarez maintained good form he’s found in the last month while also giving Arizona opportunities.
Suarez missed the first month and change of the season, but in his his last three outings coming into Wednesday, Suarez allowed four earned runs over 19.2 innings.
The D-backs got a runner on in each of Suarez’s six innings. That included a botched double play to put runners on the corners in the third with one out and a one-out double by Evan Longoria in the fourth. Arizona just couldn’t string together a few productive at-bats with small ball to score anyone.
A leadoff double by McCarthy in the eighth inning was the D-backs’ best chance to put runs on the board since the third. The leadoff hitter Perdomo then walked to reach base for the third time on the evening, presenting the heart of the order a chance to right the wrongs of the night.
It initially looked like more of the same. Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera popped up and left fielder Lourdes Gurrierl Jr. flied out to center.
But then a wild pitch to Walker advanced both runners, and maybe that rattled Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez a bit to throw a strike, because in a 2-2 count he put a slider right down the middle that Walker crushed 15 rows up in left to tie the game.
In the ninth, Perdomo’s liner to the gap in left-center for a two-out double gave Rivera a chance to end it, but he struck out swinging to send us to extras.
Kelly walked three of his first seven batters and four overall, a flareup of an issue from the start of 2023. In his first five outings, Kelly walked 17 batters. In the next eight appearances, he gave up 13 base on balls.
Suarez’s line ended up at zero runs on four hits and two walks.
Perdomo in 500 plate appearances last year had 84 hits and 22 walks. In 185 PAs this year, he’s up to 46 hits and 23 walks. With the lack of pop in shortstop bats, he’s got a shot at an All-Star nod.
Catcher Carson Kelly’s debut series has gotten off to a rough start. After the Phillies stole five bases off of Kelly in the first two games of the series (and his first two games of the season), they racked up another pair on Wednesday. Kelly at the plate has started 0-for-11 with four strikeouts.
As far as Kelly starting three games in a row, Lovullo said Moreno has had some “aches and pains” and some fatigue to deal with, so the manager wanted to give the young catcher a decent-sized break while letting Kelly find his flow right away.
Second baseman Ketel Marte did not start due to some lower back tightness, per azcentral’s Nick Piecoro. He was available off the bench and pinch hit for Pavin Smith in the eighth inning. Carroll got the day off until he replaced Smith in the outfield. With a left-handed reliever in at that moment, Lovullo elected to put up the switch-hitting Marte at the plate for Smith over Carroll.