Better results were expected, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said prior to the game.
He was talking about his ballclub, which had just finished a disappointing 12-14 April, but he could very well of been referring to that day’s starter, Shelby Miller.
Perhaps a new month would spring new results.
The Colorado Rockies roughed up Miller for three runs in the fourth inning on their way to a 6-3 victory and three-game series sweep, their first at Chase Field since July 23-25, 2004.
Nolan Arenado and Ben Paulsen hit RBI singles, while Miller walked in a run; the latter of which ended his day and brought out the boo-birds from many of the 25,458 fans announced in attendance.
Miller (0-3) cruised through the first three innings — he did not allow a hit — but then ran into trouble the second time through the Rockies order and was removed having pitched only 3 2/3 innings, the third time in four starts he failed to complete at least four innings.
Arenado later added a two-run home run, his Major League-leading 11th of the season, and finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Gerardo Parra, the former D-back, also went deep for the Rockies, who have won three straight after a five-game losing streak.
Chad Bettis (3-1) earned the win, scattering nine hits and three runs allowed over six innings; the fourth time in his past six outings he recorded a quality start. He gave up a Brandon Drury solo home run — one of his three hits –and RBI singles to Yasmany Tomas and Chris Herrmann.
Bettis did not issue a walk and struck out four, consistently getting ahead in the count with a first-pitch strike to 18 of the 27 batters he faced.
The D-backs lost for the fifth time in the past six games and dropped to 5-12 at home.
Apparently all Drury does is hit home runs; at least that’s what he’s done lately. His one-out solo home run in the first inning was his fourth in his last five games; all starts by the way. Drury lifted the 2-2 slider — clocked at 88-mph — high into the air and over the left field fence just beyond the reach of a leaping Parra. The play was reviewed, and the home run call was confirmed after 49 seconds.
Through the first three innings Miller held the Rockies hitless over 11 plate appearances. The only two batters to reach base safely were Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon; both of whom walked with Blackmon receiving a free pass on four pitches with two outs in the third inning. Miller struck out the side that frame, fanning Trevor Story on a 94-mph fastball to strand Blackmon at second base.
In three at-bats, Tomas surpassed his hit total for the entire series. Entering the game 1-for-6 with two walks, Tomas singled in the second and again in the sixth inning; the latter of which plated Drury for the D-backs second run to make it 4-2. It was a sharply hit ground ball that glanced off the glove of a diving Story, who was shaded more up the middle, easily allowing Drury to score from second base.
Back-to-back two-out walks in the fourth inning ended Miller’s afternoon after only 79 pitches. With two runs already in, he walked Bettis to load the bases and then Blackmon to force in a run; the latter of which brought Hale out of the dugout and Jake Barrett out of the bullpen with the Rockies leading 3-1. Pitching coach Mike Butcher had made a mound visit earlier in the inning during the Bettis at-bat.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Parra ripped a solo home run, his third of the season. Parra, who had gone hitless in his prior two at-bats, lined Barrett’s 1-0 offering — a 94-mph fastball — over the fence in right-center field, where it landed in the pool area and extended the Rockies lead to 4-1. It also ended Barrett’s three-appearance scoreless streak. For Parra, it was his fourth extra-base hit in the series.
Asked to go out for a second inning of work — something Hale had said he wanted to avoid given earlier struggles –Randall Delgado retired the leadoff batter and then ran into trouble. Gonzalez singled and Arenado followed with a home run, his second of the series and 11th this season; the two-run shot coming on a 1-0 89-mph fastball that landed in the D-backs bullpen and extended the Rockies lead to 6-3.
The D-backs wasted a golden opportunity to get back in the ballgame in the seventh inning. Pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks and Phil Gosselin opened with back-to-back singles and after Drury struck out, Paul Goldschmidt walked to load the bases. And that’s as far as the threat would go. David Peralta and Tomas each struck out; Peralta frozen on a 94-mph fastball, Tomas swinging through a 98-mph fastball.
STAT OF THE GAME
8.49: Miller’s ERA after six starts this season; and that’s a 20-point drop from what he entered the game with
STAT(S) OF THE SERIES
20-5, 32-11: The Rockies outscored the D-backs, 20-5, and outhit the home team, 32-11, during the three-game series; plus the Rockies batted .308 (8-for-26) compared to the D-backs’ .125 mark (2-for-16) with runners in scoring position
HE SAID IT
“This is frustrating me because it’s not even close to how good I can pitch,” Miller said, “just got to find a way to get through this tough time and just continue to find ways to get better. I feel like I’m letting my teammates down.”
Drury is hitting .390 (16-for-41; .315 overall) with four home runs and seven RBI over his last 10 games
Gonzalez, 2-for-4 with two runs scored, is hitting .450 (9-for-20) in the five games against the D-backs
The D-backs’ record dropped to 2-4 when wearing their red alternate uniforms with solid black “A” cap
The game was played with the roof open, exposing fans to mostly clear skies and 74-degree temperatures
The D-backs fell short in their GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS try for most dogs (858) at a sporting event
The D-backs set March/April record for most triples (11); while Goldschmidt set a team mark with 25 walks
Immediately after the game, the D-backs boarded their charter flight and headed east.
A nine-game road trip begins in Miami, where after an off day on Monday, the D-backs will play a three-game series against the Marlins.
First pitch of the opener on Tuesday, May 3 is scheduled for 4:10 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
A pair of left-handers are expected to take the mound: Patrick Corbin and Justin Nicolino.
Corbin (1-3, 4.88) will be looking to end a two-start losing streak, having allowed a combined 11 earned runs in 11.2 innings in losses to the Pirates and Cardinals.
Corbin, who made his Major League debut at Marlins Park, is 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA plus four walks and 13 strikeouts in two career starts against the Marlins.
Meanwhile, Nicolino (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is coming off a two-hit shutout performance at the Dodgers on April 27. He worked 7.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Nicolino’s start against the D-backs will be his second of the season, 14th of his career and first-ever facing Arizona.
Currently, the D-backs own a four-game winning streak in Miami, two-shy of the club-record; and are 13-6 in their last 19 games at Marlins Park.
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