PHOENIX — All he does is hit.
Now, can he pitch? Because the Arizona Diamondbacks lack in that area early in 2016.
Jean Segura added two more hits, both home runs, to continue his impressive D-backs career start. It came in a loss as the D-backs dropped the series opener to the Chicago Cubs, 14-6, in front of an announced crowd of 24,656 on Throwback Thursday at Chase Field.
Anthony Rizzo drove in six runs, tying a career-high, while Dexter Fowler and Addison Russell each had two RBI for the Cubs, who pounded out a season-high 14 hits.
Rizzo went 3-for-4 with a two-run triple and three-run home run.
At 3-0, the Cubs are off to their best start since 1995 and have won three-straight road games to begin a season for the first time since 1988.
Meanwhile, the D-backs lost for the third time in four games.
Once again, starting pitching was the reason why.
Rubby De La Rosa (0-1) failed to complete four innings as he allowed two runs in each of the second and third innings and three more in the fourth, when he was removed with one out and runners on first and third.
Officially, he was charged with seven runs, six earned, on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. De La Rosa followed a similar path traveled by Zack Geinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin before him.
De La Rosa was unable to hold leads of 3-0, 4-2 and 6-4.
Segura raised his batting average to .444 with a 2-for-4 effort, leading the game off with a home run and then adding an inside-the-park home run an inning later.
It was Segura’s first career inside-the-park home run and second career multi-homer game; previously done June 20, 2014 at Colorado.
It was the 11th inside-the-park home run in D-backs team history.
Segura, who became the eighth player in major league history to hit a leadoff home run and later hit an inside-the-park home run in the same game, has recorded two hits in each of the first four games.
Jake Lamb paced the D-backs with three RBI, while David Peralta had three hits and an RBI.
The D-backs scored all six of their runs in the first three innings before Cubs starter John Lackey (1-0) settled down. He pitched six innings, scattering eight hits to go along with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Cubs have outscored their opponents 29-7 through the first three games.
Lackey’s pitching agrees with Segura, who after his first two at-bats raised his lifetime batting average to .476 (10-for-21) against the veteran right-hander. Segura clubbed the very first offering he saw, a 92-mph fastball, over the right field fence for his second career leadoff home run (Also: June 5, 2015 at Minnesota) and a 1-0 D-backs lead. One inning later, he laced a 3-1 fastball to the wall in left-center field, touched all three bases and finished with a head-first slide across home plate for an inside-the-park home run and a 4-2 D-backs lead.
After his first two at-bats, Lamb had driven in half of the D-backs runs with a two-run single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Let’s start with the single: with two on and two out, Lamb grounded an 0-2 pitch up the middle and into center field to score Paul Goldschmidt (walk) and David Peralta (double) to make it 3-0 D-backs. In Lamb’s next plate appearance, he lifted a 2-1 pitch to left field, just deep enough to score Peralta (triple) and extend the D-backs lead to 6-4. In his 11 previous at-bats to begin the season, Lamb had recorded two RBI.
It’s called a shutdown inning, and De La Rosa failed to record such an inning each time the D-backs scored while he was in the game. Spotted a 3-0 lead after the first, De La Rosa allowed two runs—a Russell two-run single—in the second; handed a 4-2 lead after the second, De La Rosa again allowed two runs—a Rizzo RBI single and a Welington Castillo throwing error—in the third; and then given a 6-4 lead after the third, De La Rosa allowed three runs—a Fowler RBI triple plus two runs plated by Rizzo’s first-pitch swinging triple to right field off reliever Jake Barrett.
Expect the D-backs to make a roster move to provide some bullpen relief. Barrett, making his third appearance of the season, entered the game with one out in the fourth inning and allowed the first three batters to reach base. He was charged with two runs on two hits with one walk and one strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Kyle Drabek, in his D-backs debut, pitched the next two-plus frames and gave up one run on one hit, throwing 52 pitches, including 29 in the fifth inning, when he walked three straight batters to load the bases before striking out Rizzo on a 3-2 cut fastball.
STAT OF THE GAME, part 1
10: The number of walks issued by D-backs pitchers, five of which scored.
STAT OF THE GAME, part 2
10.18: The D-backs starting pitchers’ ERA through the first four games as they have allowed 23 earned runs (24 overall) in 20.1 IP on 31 hits, including nine home runs, with five walks and 12 strikeouts.
HE SAID IT
“The command wasn’t there. It’s the same story we’ve had with our starters,” manager Chip Hale said. “Just command, getting the ball up to good hitters. It’s just not going to work in this ballpark, especially. There’s not a whole lot of forgiveness.”
– Segura became the sixth D-backs leadoff hitter to hit a home run on the first pitch of the team’s first at-bat, joining Eric Byrnes, Jeff DaVanon, Ender Inciarte, Gerardo Parra and Chris Young.
– Segura became the fourth D-backs hitter to record two or more hits in each of the first four games to start the season, joining Danny Bautista, Willie Bloomquist and Goldschmidt.
– On the Segura inside-the-park home run, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber collided with center fielder Dexter Fowler and was taken off the field on a cart after suffering a sprained left ankle.
– With Rizzo’s ninth-inning three-run home run, the Cubs have now homered at least once in each of their last seven games at Chase Field and in 16 of their last 17 here since June 22, 2012.
– As part of Throwback Thursday, Jay Bell threw out the ceremonial first pitch to fellow alum Kelly Stinnett as the D-backs paid tribute to its 1999 NL West championship team.
– Copa America, the world’s oldest international soccer tournament, had its trophy on display behind home plate during batting practice; Copa America will be held in the U.S. this summer.
– With rain in the forecast, the game was played with the roof closed, keeping the in-door temperature at 79 degrees as compared to 89 degress outside.
The last of the D-backs five starters makes his 2016 debut.
Left-hander Robbie Ray takes the mound in game two of the four-game series on Friday, April 8. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Though Ray’s 2015 won-loss record (5-12) wasn’t impressive, he ranked among NL rookie leaders in ERA (second), starts (fourth), innings pitched (fourth), strikeouts (fourth) and opponent average (fifth, .255). His 3.52 ERA was fourth-best by a D-backs first-year player behind Brandon Webb (2.84 in 2003), Wade Miley (3.33 in 2012) and Josh Collmenter (3.38 in 2011).
Ray will be opposed by right-hander Jason Hammel, who is coming off a season in which he went 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA while striking out a career-high 172 batters compared to just 40 walks in a career-best 31 starts.
Hammel will be making his 14th appearance and 11th start against the D-backs.