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Sedona Red Recap: De La Rosa shines for D-backs but Giants complete sweep

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Rubby De La Rosa throws against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

With the series already lost, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ goal on Sunday was to avoid the sweep.

They did not.

Brandon Crawford’s RBI single in the ninth inning drove in the go-ahead run, giving the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 victory and their fourth-ever, four-game series sweep over the D-backs, who have now dropped five in a row and seven straight at Chase Field.

The Crawford hit followed back-to-back singles by Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt to open the inning.

All three batters hit the first pitch off Brad Ziegler (1-2), who stayed in the game despite hurting the index and middle fingers on his right hand thanks to Pence’s comebacker.

Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland (2-0) earned the win and Santiago Casilla picked up the save—his ninth of the season—getting pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks, Jr. to ground into a game-ending double play with the tying run at third base.

Weeks was first called safe but the play was overturned upon review, which lasted 2:24.

The D-backs finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Both team’s starters pitched well.

Rubby De La Rosa one-hit the Giants over 6.2 innings, allowing only a home run to Trevor Brown while Matt Cain scattered seven hits in seven innings of work. He, too, allowed only a single run on a Paul Goldschmidt sacrifice fly.

It was the first time in 14 starts Cain had allowed one run or less.

De La Rosa, meanwhile, became the 12th pitcher in team history and the first since Chase Anderson last season in San Francisco to throw at least 6.2 innings with one or fewer hits.

Of the D-backs’ seven hits, Brandon Drury had four, a new career-high.

At 17-23, the D-backs are a season-high-tying six games under .500.

THE GOOD

Credit Cain with an assist on the D-backs’ first run of the game in the fourth inning. With one out, Jake Lamb doubled down the right field line. He then moved up 90-feet on a wild pitch, allowing him to later score on Paul Goldschmidt’s sacrifice fly, which tied the game at 1. By the way, that was Goldschmidt’s 52 RBI against the Giants, the most by an opponent against the NL West club since 2011.

Following the Brown home run, De La Rosa retired 13 of 15 batters, including six in a row at one point before issuing back-to-back walks to Angel Pagan and Conor Gillespie. Those ultimately ended his day with two outs in the seventh inning. De La Rosa threw a first-pitch strike to 14 of 25 batters faced and though he walked four, only one advanced into scoring position (Pagan in the seventh).

THE BAD

After retiring each of the first seven batters of the game, De La Rosa left a 94-mph, first-pitch fastball up in the zone to Brown, who deposited it into the left-field seats to hand the Giants a 1-0 lead in the third inning. It was the fifth home run allowed this season by De La Rosa and ended his streak of 18.2 consecutive scoreless innings against the Giants, the longest such run in team history.

Once again, timely hitting eluded the D-backs, who squandered a golden opportunity in the third inning. With one out, Drury singled to center. De La Rosa then reached safely on a Cain throwing error, enabling Drury to advance to third base. And that’s as far as either would move as Jean Segura—swinging at the first pitch, a 76-mph curveball—grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Three hits in an inning should be enough to score a run. That is, unless the first hit is erased by a double play, which is exactly what happened in the fifth inning. Chris Herrmann opened with a single to right and Yasmany Tomas followed grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Drury and De La Rosa then hit back-to-back singles, but they were left stranded when Segura grounded out to second base.

First-pitch swinging just may not be the best strategy for Tomas at the moment. He swung at Cain’s first offering—a 76-mph curveball—with two outs in the sixth inning and lifted a foul ball near the Giants dugout that Belt caught to squash yet another D-backs scoring chance. Tomas had left the bases loaded. An inning earlier, Tomas had swung at the first pitch and hit into a double play.

Two more chances with runners in scoring position and the D-backs came up empty both times in the seventh inning. With one out and Drury on second base, Segura flew out to right field — moving Drury to third– and Chris Owings grounded out to shortstop. For those keeping track, it marked the second straight inning in which the D-backs had the go-ahead run 90-feet away and failed to execute.

STAT OF THE GAME

4-for-31: The D-backs batted .129 with runners in scoring position in the four-game series.

HE SAID IT

“We just have to do a better job of at-bats with men on third base,” manager Chip Hale said, referring to the third, sixth, seventh and ninth innings. “We just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

NOTED

– Drury leads all rookies with 13 multi-hit games and is tied for the rookie lead with four games of three or more hits.

– Goldschmidt, 0-for-2 with a walk and sac fly, finished 1-for-14 in the series, dropping his batting average to .222.

– Ziegler snapped a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings against the Giants, the most ever against the Giants.

– Herrmann became the first D-backs player in team history to start at catcher and center field in the same season.

– Michael Bourn made D-backs debut and MLB season debut with a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning.

– Daniel Hudson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, giving him 15 scoreless outings in his 17 appearances this season.

– With 90-degree temperatures at first pitch, the Chase Field roof and panels were both closed keeping fans cool at 74 degrees.

– Uniform watch: the D-backs dropped their record to 2-7 when wearing the red alternate with red gradient “D” cap.

UP NEXT

The homestand continues with a visit from the New York Yankees, their first trip to Chase Field since 2010.

It’s a three-game series with Robbie Ray and Michael Pineda taking the mound in the opener on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Ray (1-2, 4.84) is winless over his last four starts, none of which saw him complete at least six innings.

Ray did not factor into the decision in his most recent outing at Colorado, where he allowed three earned runs in 4.2 innings and set a career-high with nine strikeouts, making him the first pitcher in team history to strike out nine or more batters in less than five innings.

This will be Ray’s first career start against the Yankees.

Pineda, too, will be making his first career start against the D-backs.

This season, Pineda (1-4, 6.28) won his first outing, but he has gone winless ever since, a span of six starts.

Against Kansas City five days ago, Pineda worked 5.2 innings with six runs allowed on six hits while walking four and striking out seven.

Pineda, a former All-Star, owns a 6-2 record with a 2.44 ERA in nine career interleague starts.

The D-backs have won just two of the past six meetings against the Yankees.

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