D-backs rookie Slade Cecconi receives hard lesson from Orioles in ugly defeat

Sep 2, 2023, 9:55 PM | Updated: 10:03 pm

Torey Lovullo and Slade Cecconi...

Manager Torey Lovullo (L) #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks takes the ball from Slade Cecconi #43 during a pitching change in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Chase Field on September 02, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Baltimore Orioles jumped on Arizona Diamondbacks rookie starter Slade Cecconi with seven straight hits in the fourth inning to drive home a 7-3 win at Chase Field on Saturday.

Cecconi began the game with three scoreless frames and four strikeouts, as the D-backs (70-66) took a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning.

Orioles (84-51) center fielder Cedric Mullins broke through with a three-run home run, followed by a Ramon Urias single, Adam Frazier double, James McCann double and Adley Rutschman single. The score was 6-2 Baltimore when manager Torey Lovullo pulled his starter at 3.1 innings pitched.

Cecconi had a 2.57 ERA entering the game after he threw 5.2 innings of one-run ball on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. He leaned heavily on the fastball on Saturday, many of which caught too much of the zone.

He got away with it some early, mixing in sliders to cap all four of his punch outs. Given enough chances, a deep Orioles lineup taught Cecconi a few things.

“Going out there and regardless of the count, pitch the hitter throwing everything with absolute full intent and not trying to place the ball, trying to be perfect,” Cecconi said. “Throwing my best stuff instead of trying to nitpick and nibble in the zone.”

The Orioles did not swing and miss at a single one of his fastballs. Five of their seven hits in the fourth innings left the bat over 100 mph. Cecconi only threw three changeups despite finding success with the pitch against the Reds.

“There were some middle-away, middle-up, middle-middle types of fastballs that were hit and you gotta be better than that in this league,” Lovullo added. “You got to be able to locate that on an edge or the top bar … I think the secondary stuff got a little loose and got away from him in that fourth inning, and he became very reliant on the fastball.”

This has been a challenging week for the starting rotation, as Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt and Cecconi allowed a combined 24 earned runs in their most recent starts. Zach Davies was the outlier with six one-run innings in a 4-2 win vs. Baltimore on Friday.

Arizona’s offense did not have another comeback in it. The D-backs went 1-for-16 with six strikeouts after Baltimore’s big inning. Catcher Gabriel Moreno delivered a solo home run in the ninth inning to reach what became the final score.

Ketel Marte went 2-for-3, and the rest of the offense finished 3-for-28.

The D-backs are in a tough stretch, having lost three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this week and now facing the American League-best Orioles. Even with four losses in five games, they have a chance to win their sixth of seven series on Sunday.

Christian Walker day-to-day

Lovullo called first baseman Christian Walker day-to-day with a right elbow contusion. Walker was hit by a pitch in the third inning, which caused nerve pain up through his hand. He exited the game in the fifth inning.

Walker has not been ruled out for Sunday, but Lovullo said they will see how he feels in the morning.

Gallen up next

Gallen will pitch Sunday’s rubber match against Baltimore’s Jack Flaherty. Gallen is coming off a six-run start against the Los Angeles Dodgers which ended an otherwise terrific August for the ace.

Flaherty was a trade deadline addition by the Orioles and started two games against the D-backs as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals this season. He allowed seven runs across 11 innings.

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

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