Diamondbacks’ pitching cracks outweigh 6-run comeback vs. Cardinals

Apr 12, 2024, 11:11 PM

Lourdes Gurriel Jr...

Lourdes Gurriel Jr #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after flying out against the St Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning at Chase Field on April 12, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. Cardinals won 9-6. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks put together an “answerbacks” rally Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, putting up six runs in the fifth inning punctuated by Eugenio Suarez’s game-tying home run.

The rest of the ballgame was all Cardinals in a 9-6 victory, though, one in which Paul Goldschmidt poked the go-ahead RBI single on a pitch way out of the strike zone against reliever Joe Mantiply in the seventh inning.

Cardinals (7-7) batters Nolan Arenado and Lars Nootbaar hit mammoth home runs off starter Brandon Pfaadt, who battled to get through six innings but was far from satisfied with the six-run outing.

Arizona’s (6-8) scoring outburst that chased Cardinals starter Steven Matz gave the ballpark new life, more runs in one inning than the D-backs scored in each of the last four games. Kevin Newman, Ketel Marte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. each punched in an RBI before Suarez muscled a three-run homer into the Cardinals’ bullpen in right field off Giovanny Gallegos.

That was the last hit of the game for the D-backs, although Gurriel was feet away from a go-ahead shot in the eighth inning on ball to the warning track.

Arizona relievers let in three runs in three innings with seven hits, an unbalanced group over the first two weeks of the season — Ryan Thompson and Kyle Nelson have yet to allow a run and Kevin Ginkel earned two saves in Colorado this week, but several others have started tumultuously.

“We had some good matchups we felt like and then just fell apart,” Lovullo said. “They had some big hits at the right time and we couldn’t cash in on the back end of that. Look, we fought … we got back in, it just didn’t happen.”

Scott McGough is off to a difficult start, which continued with two earned runs Friday in the eighth inning that blew open the Cardinals’ lead. He’s allowed six runs (five earned) and recorded five outs over his last three appearances. Jordan Walker smoked a 108 mph double off him, and Masyn Winn followed with a sharp ball up the first-base line for a triple.

Goldschmidt’s game-winner came after Mantiply allowed a triple to Brendan Donovan, a ball misplayed off the wall in left-center by Corbin Carroll before the relay was just late. Luis Frias loaded the bases in the ninth but escaped the high-wire act.

“I gotta believe in them,” Lovullo said after admitting to the inconsistencies. “I can’t protect them. They gotta pitch better. But I believe in them, they’re gonna get the baseball … The eight we got, who’s ever here, whenever they’re here and I see the chart of who’s available and who’s not, the matchups and everything that I do to try and make the best decision moving forward, I can’t run from anybody down there.”

Pfaadt explained some command troubles early on. An eight-pitch walk to Goldschmidt set up Arenado with two on in the first, and he had yet to homer in a slow start for the St. Louis offense — 19th in runs and OPS as a team.

Arenado unloaded on what Pfaadt called a quality sweeper left too far over the middle, as Gurriel could only look at the 425-footer to left. Pfaadt threw 31 pitches in the first inning.

Nootbaar, in his first game of the season after returning from the injured list (ribs), smoked a fastball 438 feet to right in the third inning to take a 6-0 lead, a pitch Pfaadt called his worst execution of the night, missing on the wrong side of the plate. Nootbaar entered the game 8-for-17 in his career at Chase Field with two homers.

The Cardinals had six extra-base hits to Arizona’s two.

Despite the high pitch count early, Pfaadt got through six innings for the first time this season at 99 pitches. Three long balls in his last 7.2 innings have ballooned his early-season ERA to 6.48.

The Diamondbacks are 5-2 against the Colorado Rockies and 1-6 against the Yankees, Braves and Cardinals, and most of those losses involved a tied game or Arizona lead in the final three innings.

The series continues Saturday with Ryne Nelson throwing for the D-backs and right-hander Kyle Gibson for the Cardinals.

First pitch is at 5:10 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app.  

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