Diamondbacks’ lack of execution spoils Jordan Montgomery outing vs. Cardinals

Apr 24, 2024, 1:08 PM | Updated: 1:12 pm

Jordan Montgomery...

Jordan Montgomery #52 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 24, 2024 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jordan Montgomery’s quality start gave the Arizona Diamondbacks every opportunity to break Wednesday’s series finale at the St. Louis Cardinals open, but he instead ended up taking the loss in a 5-1 defeat at Busch Stadium.

Arizona (12-14) outscored the Cardinals 18-11 in a three-game series loss that included a 14-1 win on Tuesday.

Montgomery had a gem going through five innings of his second D-backs start with no runs and two hits. He retired 12 of 13 hitters and looked primed to go deep into the game with 60 pitches. The lefty was painting the corners — with three straight punchouts looking at one point — and keeping the ball on the ground against his former club.

The Diamondbacks had a chance to put up another crooked number for him in the first inning with the bases loaded and no outs, a chance to pile on from Tuesday’s blowout.

Christian Walker did a job by flying out to deep center field for a sacrifice fly, but Eugenio Suarez grounded into a game-altering double play to end the inning against Cardinals starter Kyle Gibson. This has been an issue, as Arizona entered the game having grounded into 19 double plays, seventh-most in MLB, and had three more on Wednesday.

Arizona continued to almost score throughout the first five innings of the game but finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Offense can ebb and flow. The D-backs entered this game third in MLB hitting .317 with runners in scoring position, as evidenced by the big innings. They were also dead last at .118 in high leverage situations — in which win probabilities are most on the line– as seen in these types of losses.

Gibson finished with six innings and one run.

The dam cracked for Montgomery with an out in the sixth when the Cardinals’ lineup turned to its third go. Brendan Donovan, Willson Contreras and Nolan Arenado recorded hits in a row to tie the game 1-1, and a wild pitch that got away from catcher Tucker Barnhart scored the go-ahead — and eventual game-winning — run.

St. Louis (11-14) picked up insurance in the seventh off Montgomery after Masyn Winn reached on a throwing error by shortstop Blaze Alexander –a tough error call after Alexander made a diving effort to knock down the ball and gave Walker a chance to pick it. Winn scored from first base on a Nolan Gorman single in a ridiculous 8.66 seconds.

Montgomery finished with 7.0 innings, two earned runs, six hits, one walk and four strikeouts on 87 pitches (62 strikes). He threw six innings with one earned run against the Giants in his debut last Friday with plenty of run support in a 17-1 win.

St. Louis broke the game open in the eighth with a Lars Nootbaar two-run double off Andrew Saalfrank after Bryce Jarvis loaded the bases.

Arizona had the second-best run differential through 25 games in MLB history by a team with a losing record at plus-39 after Tuesday, per OptaSTATS. The four scoring outbursts tilt this, but this is the highest-scoring team in the majors that is failing to put together consistent nine-inning efforts.

Injuries are a factor here, but so is lack of execution in critical moments up and down the lineup, bullpen and defense.

The road trip continues Friday when the D-backs face the Seattle Mariners for three games. Zac Gallen will start the opener.

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