PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks returned home from a 10-game road trip in California Friday, but any favorable luck of a five-game winning streak disappeared as quickly as water drops in the dry Arizona air.
So did the baseballs.
With the Chase Field roof open the ball carried, and Arizona starter Patrick Corbin let one too many pitches get away on an evening where the D-backs and Pittsburgh Pirates combined for six home runs. Corbin lost the game after what he called a “frustrating” start but the Diamondbacks’ offense, Corbin included, rallied from a four-run and then a three-run deficit to fall 8-7.
“When the ball is flying like this you need to pitch down, you need to pitch in,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “It’s a tough night to pitch, obviously the ball is really carrying with the roof open. There were some balls that were hit pretty hard though. I don’t know if any of those would have not made it out (another night).”
Corbin somewhat made up for three home runs and five runs — four earned — by scoring a run himself in the third inning and in the fourth knocking in an RBI double to pull the D-backs within 5-4.
Corbin also recovered by going away from a poor-locating fastball. He went almost only to his sinker and slider for the majority of his evening after giving up the home runs.
A comeback, however, was not to be.
“Giving up five runs in those first three, it’s tough to come back there,” Corbin said. “Just a couple mistakes early and in this ballpark if you make a couple mistakes, they’re going to go a long way.”
Trouble struck for Corbin in the second inning as he left two four-seam fastballs vulnerable.
First baseman Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run home run of 468 feet to left field and Gregory Polanco, the next batter, drilled one 457 feet to center field as the Pirates took a 3-0 lead. Combined, the individual career-long bombs were the longest back-to-back home runs since 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Jordy Mercer would later set his own career-long homer against Corbin, sending a shot to left field to begin the third inning and give Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead.
Arizona would rally with a two-home run outing for catcher Welington Castillo and David Peralta’s two-run evening that included a home run. But three earned runs between relievers Silvino Bracho and Randall Delgado in the seventh and eighth innings would put Pittsburgh just out of reach.
The Diamondbacks’ infielders couldn’t have played much better. In the first inning with a runner on first, a wild hop forced shortstop Nick Ahmed to jump and field a ball high in his chest, but in mid-air, he fed Segura for an out at second base, who in turn got the ball to first for the double-play. Segura followed that with a diving grab of a ground ball for an out in the second inning — it stopped a Pirates runner at third base. Ahmed and Goldschmidt each added another diving stop each in the game.
Peralta made the first dent in the Pirates’ early three-run lead with his first home run this year and just his second of 25 career bombs against a left-handed pitcher. Later, the lefty’s no-out double in the eight set up Rickie Weeks Jr.’s pinch-hit that scored Peralta on an error by shortstop Mercer, pulling Arizona within 8-6 in the eighth.
Corbin’s bat. The starting pitcher got a run back in the bottom of the third, singling and then touching home after Segura and Drury each singled, cutting the Pirates’ lead to 5-2. In the next frame, the pitcher followed a two-out triple by Chris Owings with an RBI double to make it a one-run game.
Beef is back. Castillo drilled a high-arching ball to left field in the fourth inning. The homer pulled Arizona within 5-3. In the eighth, he completed his third career multi-homer game with by hooking a drive around the left foul post to pull Arizona within 8-5. By the end of the night, Castillo tallied his fifth homer in six games and fifth of his last six hits.
Arizona pulled within 8-7 when Jean Segura beat Mark Melancon to first base with a slide to allow Ricky Weeks Jr. to tap home.
Just after Segura’s diving grab that saved a run, Corbin allowed a two-run shot to left field by Rodriguez in the top of the second inning. The very next pitch, to Polanco, also went deep as the Pirates took a 3-0 lead with back-to-back homers. Mercer went yard on Corbin with no outs in the top of the third inning, giving Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead.
The Pirates added a run when Starling Marte reached third as left fielder Yasmany Tomas misjudged a catchable fly ball that hit high off the fence. Josh Harrison’s RBI single thereafter gave Pittsburgh a 5-1 lead.
Relieving Corbin in the seventh, Bracho struggled after recently being called up from Triple-A Reno. He gave up a ground rule double to David Freese and Mercer fouled off four would-be strikes in a row before walking with one out. Andrew McCutchen and Francisco Cervelli each hit RBI singles to put the Pirates ahead 7-4.
Trailing 8-7 with two on and two outs, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt hit the ball weakly to Mercer, who used an arching throw to first that Goldschmidt beat. Called out initially, a review overturned the call and the bases loaded with Tomas up to bat, but another weak infield hit stranded the runners.
HE SAID IT
“I think he was upset we pinch-hit for him the third time he was hitting so well. We’ve gotten some big hits out of our pitchers now. Zack (Greinke) had one on the road, so did Robbie Ray.” – Chip Hale on Corbin’s two-hit outing at the plate
STAT OF THE GAME
925 — The number of combined feet the back-to-back homers by Rodriguez and Polanco carried.
– Peralta’s home run was his first of the season.
– Corbin’s final line: 95 pitches, 59 strikes, seven hits, five runs, four earned runs allowed on three home runs, three strikeouts and one walk.
– Tomas extended his hit streak to eight games.
– Castillo recorded his third multi-homer game.
Diamondbacks right-hander Rubby De La Rosa hasn’t made a start since April 13, skipping one scheduled start, but he did make two relief appearances since. De La Rosa is expected back on the mound Saturday for a 5:10 p.m. MST first pitch against the Pirates.
It also happens to be A.J. Pollock bobblehead night.
For the Pirates, right-hander Juan Nicasio takes the mound having pitched 15 innings in three starts, allowing eight earned runs and striking out 17 in that span.