D-backs squander strong Zach Davies return, fall in extras to Reds to drop season series

Aug 26, 2023, 10:29 PM

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks...

Geraldo Perdomo #2 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is tagged out at second base by Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at Chase Field on August 26, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Cincinnati Reds erased a four-run deficit to force extra innings, the Arizona Diamondbacks came back from down three runs in the 10th to extend the game and a two-out balk in the 11th made the difference in an 8-7 win for the Reds Saturday at Chase Field.

The Diamondbacks’ six-game winning streak snapped despite leading Saturday’s game from the bottom of the first until the top of the ninth.

Cincinnati also clinched the season series against the D-backs, a critical tie-breaker in the National League Wild Card race with the two clubs 0.5 games apart.

“We knew what was at stake today, we know what the series means,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “The beauty of this game is we can wake up tomorrow and go out and play a game and win and keep moving forward. We got to tighten up a few things. As frustrating as it is right now, we’ve been resilient.”

D-backs closer Paul Sewald allowed two runs in the ninth to tie the game at 4-4 for his second blown save since the trade deadline. He had not allowed an earned run over his previous eight innings entering Saturday, but he struggled to spot his fastball and fell behind the first four batters he faced.

Cincinnati climbed ahead 7-4 in the 10th after three straight hits off Miguel Castro, but clutch hitting and a key defensive mistake aided the Diamondback’s comeback. Geraldo Perdomo and Christian Walker drove in runs, while a Matt McLain error through his legs at second base cost the Reds. Cincinnati made three errors on Saturday.

D-backs reliever Nabil Crismatt, making his team debut after getting selected a week ago, had two outs in the 11th when Spencer Steer hit an infield single to bring runners to the corners. Crismatt was called for a what became the game-winning balk, spoiling a would-be clutch inning to leave the Manfred Man aboard.

“It was a balk, he looked like he was starting to reach into his glove. He did it once and he tried to do it again, and the umpire saw it,” Lovullo said.

Arizona opted to bunt with Alek Thomas to lead off the 11th, which he executed. Lovullo said he was playing for the tie in that moment with Cincinnati running out of options in the bullpen.

It brought up Jace Peterson and Jose Herrera, who both struck out, ending the game with the runner stranded.

Gabriel Moreno and Evan Longoria were both on the bench, but Lovullo explained he liked the lefty-righty matchups.

He wanted to give Moreno the day off given the young catcher’s workload but explained he was available. Moreno has been one of Arizona’s hottest hitters with a 1.043 OPS over his last 10 games.

“We had some experience sitting on the bench with Evan Longoria and Gabi Moreno, I’m aware of that,” Lovullo said. “But I felt like with the numbers and just crunching things and the matchups and things that I look at, it favored a left-handed hitter, but it didn’t work out.

“Jose had some decent swings today, hit the ball hard a couple times. I felt like he was gonna give us a good at-bat.”

The loss dropped Arizona back down the third wild card spot as the positions fluctuate daily.

Warm welcome back for Zach Davies

Zach Davies made his first start for the Diamondbacks in over five weeks after coming off the 15-day injured list (back). He was sharp, getting ahead of batters and leaning heavily on his changeup to induce weak contact and whiffs.

Davies got through five scoreless innings before giving up a home run to McLain in the sixth and exiting with a runner on. He left at 86 pitches having struck out five batters.

“Coming up with some injuries and some struggles early on in the year, I felt like it was harder to compete and make pitches and give us a quality start,” Davies said. “So this time around, I felt a lot better. Aggressive in the zone, attacking hitters and trying to make things happen as opposed to letting the ballgame decide itself.”

Reds hitters swung and missed at 10 changeups while only managing an 85.9 mph exit velocity against the pitch, which Davies said felt as strong command-wise as it has this year.

Davies also threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of 21 batters.

Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte build lead

Arizona grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first after Corbin Carroll tripled to right and scored on a passed ball, opening his bobblehead giveaway night on a high note.

He doubled in the fifth inning to set up Ketel Marte with two on and one out.

Marte blasted a no-doubter to right for his 100th home run as a member of the Diamondbacks, becoming the ninth player in franchise history to do so.

Carroll, Walker and Perdomo had multi-hit games for Arizona.

Tommy Pham’s 15-game hitting streak came to an end with his 0-for-5 evening.

Diamondbacks-Reds finale

Sunday’s series finale will involve a matchup of young pitchers: 24-year-old Slade Cecconi for Arizona and 25-year-old Graham Ashcraft of the Reds.

Cecconi is probable to make his third MLB start and fifth appearance. Ashcraft threw six scoreless innings against Arizona as a rookie last year in his lone appearance against the D-backs.

Both teams will be managing taxed pitching staffs after the Reds used six arms on Saturday and the D-backs ran out eight pitchers.

First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and 

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D-backs squander strong Zach Davies return, fall in extras to Reds to drop season series