ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks reach rare, dubious strikeouts feat in loss to Dodgers

Apr 29, 2024, 11:40 PM | Updated: Apr 30, 2024, 3:51 pm

Freddie Freeman...

Freddie Freeman #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 29, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks pitching, for the first time in franchise history, walked eight batters without a single strikeout in a game during an 8-4 loss Monday to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No pitching staff had recorded eight walks and zero punch outs since the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, per Stathead.

The Diamondbacks (13-17) felt those walks, as four Dodgers (19-12) runs reached base on balls or via a hit-by-pitch in their first meeting since the NLDS.

This was especially prevalent in the fifth inning. The Dodgers walked five times and scored four runs, all of which were charged to Andrew Saalfrank — although Scott McGough let in two inherited runs on an Andy Pages double. Saalfrank walked three in a row, and McGough added two more.

“Five walks in one inning is unacceptable and we’ve got to be better,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s the bottom line. It’s identifiable, we know we got to put balls on the plate, we have to trust our stuff and execute to get outs.

“I’ll give credit where credit is due, they got some good hitters on that team. Swing and miss is a part of this game and no matter what, you expect to get a few (strikeouts) over the course of a nine-inning game. What does it mean? It means we weren’t putting the ball on the plate and executing at the level that we needed to.”

It was only the third game in franchise history in which Arizona failed to record a strikeout on the mound, as the other two were in 2015 (Robbie Ray started) and 2005 (Russ Ortiz).

In those games, D-backs pitchers faced 35 and 37 batters, respectively, while on Monday 44 hitters dug in. The White Sox in 2017 were the last team to face at least 44 hitters and not strike any of them out.

“I also think that their game plan is to be really aggressive,” D-backs starter Tommy Henry said. “There was a lot early contact, anything in the zone early they were hacking at and they’re good hitters … I think a little bit of us not necessarily locating to the best of our ability but also their game plan was to get after it early.”

Henry faced peril early but kept the damage limited. With two on, one out in the first inning, the Dodgers ran a double steal. Catcher Will Smith chopped a ball right to third, where Eugenio Suarez stepped on the bag and threw to first. The double steal, double play.

Los Angeles picked up a couple runs in the second and threatened with the bases loaded and one out following a pair of walks. Shohei Ohtani dug in, his first game against the Diamondbacks after signing with their division foes, and Henry got him to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Henry got through four frames with two earned runs and 72 pitches, but Lovullo said he was battling fatigue and wanted a fresh arm for the third go at the top of the order.

“I know he was laboring a little bit,” Lovullo said. “Probably could have sent him out there for the fifth but I felt like two times around with a gassed-up bullpen, what I thought would be the right situations for certain guys to just keep cashing in and moving the line that way. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.”

“Pitching like that when it’s not necessarily 1-2-3 innings, when you’re grinding out there for most of the outing can be a little bit exhausting at times,” Henry said. “That’s a really good lineup. If you’re not getting the bottom half of the order out, it flips over really quick. All of that can adds to that.”

The offense found life in the fifth with three runs off Dodgers starter James Paxton to cut the deficit to 6-4. Blaze Alexander — batting leadoff for the first time — earned his third walk, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. snapped a three-game hitless streak with a double. Eugenio Suarez singled in a run, Gurriel scored on a wild pitch and Randal Grichuk brought in a third run with a sacrifice fly.

Corbin Carroll belted a 408-foot shot to the deepest part of Chase Field in the eighth inning. The fly out would have been a home run in 17 ballparks, per Statcast, but Carroll is still homerless at home.

Smith homered, and Ohtani delivered an RBI single off Logan Allen — who recorded 10 outs — late for insurance. Los Angeles raked in this game with 15 balls in play over 98 mph. The Dodgers are MLB’s highest-scoring team, more evidence the Diamondbacks especially this series cannot afford to put runners on.

Diamondbacks injury updates

– Lovullo gave out a slew of injury updates, the most promising being starter Ryne Nelson threw five innings, 70 pitches in a simulated game Monday. Nelson (elbow contusion) is expected back soon without a rehab start.

– Closer Paul Sewald (oblique) is scheduled to throw a bullpen Wednesday, while relievers Miguel Castro (shoulder) and Luis Frias (shoulder) will start throwing programs later this week.

– Kyle Nelson (shoulder) saw specialist Dr. Gregory Pearl in Texas, who performed thoracic outlet surgery on Merrill Kelly in 2020.

– Outfielder Alek Thomas (hamstring) was held back from playing a game on Monday while under the weather.

Diamondbacks-Dodger probables

Jordan Montgomery will make his first home Diamondbacks appearance Tuesday after a pair of quality starts on the road. Los Angeles rookie right-hander Landon Knack will be Montgomery’s counterpart.

Zac Gallen will start Wednesday, Lovullo announced, after he threw a bullpen Monday at Chase Field. Gallen was removed from Friday’s game in Seattle with hamstring tightness.

First pitch Tuesday is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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