Diamondbacks’ poor form shows in loss to Cardinals

Jul 26, 2023, 4:52 PM

Paul Goldschmidt #46 of the St. Louis Cardinals high fives Andrew Knizner #7 after hitting a two-ru...

Paul Goldschmidt #46 of the St. Louis Cardinals high fives Andrew Knizner #7 after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 26, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Of all the worrisome losses to come for the Arizona Diamondbacks in July, Wednesday’s 11-7 defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals won’t top the charts. It was also undeniably a winnable game if the D-backs executed better in a few key categories, perhaps the worst development to come out of the team’s worst run of 2023.

Arizona’s offense was 1-for-12 at the plate with runners in scoring position before the ninth inning and, in three of the first six innings, had a batter reach scoring position with no outs, only for the inning to be scoreless. Three of Arizona’s seven runs came in the ninth inning when the game was already decided.

With a reeling bullpen and offense, this is the stretch of the year when the D-backs need Zac Gallen to be elite, but he was more solid than anything on Wednesday.

Gallen allowed seven hits on five earned runs across 6.1 innings and walked three. Solo homers for Nolan Gorman and Lars Nootbaar made up half the damage.

The prevention of long balls was one of the secrets to Gallen’s success in the first half of the season but it has been giving him far more trouble as of late.

In his first dozen outings of 2023, Gallen only allowed a homer in one of them, and it was a pair against the San Diego Padres on April 4. Since then, in the righty’s last 11 starts, Gallen has given up a dinger in nine, and 12 in total.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the third inning, a wild pitch by Gallen let Cardinals designated hitter Brandon Donovan score on a close play at the plate. It was the second straight night a Cardinals runner scored from third without a ball hit in play.

Four innings later, following a double for St. Louis’ Paul DeJong with one out, Gallen passed the 100-pitch mark in an at-bat against nine-hitter Andrew Knizner, which ended in a RBI single.

Gallen exited after that at a 4-3 scoreline, to be noted with the bullpen’s extreme inability this month to keep games within range for an underperforming offense.

Lefty Kyle Nelson, who has been one of Arizona’s best relief arms, came in and gave up a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt to tack on Gallen’s fifth earned run.

In the next inning, Gorman crushed his second home run of the game off the batter’s eye in center, which was allowed by Scott McGough. Gorman, a Valley product and graduate of north Phoenix’s Sandra Day O’ Connor High School, is now up to 22 on the year.

Knizner homered for two more runs later in the inning, again off McGough.

Tyler Gilbert became the third D-backs reliever to give up a run after a Nootbaar RBI single became St. Louis’ fifth run of the eighth inning.

“It blew up in a hurry on us. … It was a good game until the seventh or eighth inning,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

Arizona’s runs scored were via a Christian Walker sacrifice fly, Dominic Canzone single, Emmanuel Rivera homer, Canzone fielder’s choice, Walker two-run long ball and Alek Thomas double.

The D-backs are now 3-9 since the All-Star break. Thanks to some slumps from other teams in the wild card hunt, though, Arizona remains within a game of the four other teams in the mix for the three spots.

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