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Sedona Red Recap: D-backs can’t pull off rare sweep of Yankees

Arizona Diamondbacks' Paul Goldschmidt pauses at first base after the New York Yankees scored a run on a wild pitch by Arizona Diamondbacks' Evan Marshall during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Phoenix. The Yankees defeated the Diamondbacks 4-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

OK, put the brooms back in the closet.

The Arizona Diamondbacks failed in their first attempt of the season at a home series sweep.

Trying to do something no National League team had done in nine years against the New York Yankees, the D-backs were held to two hits in a 4-2 loss in front of an announced crowd of 32,191 at Chase Field on Wednesday.

Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings, Brett Gardner hit a two-run home run and Jacoby Ellsbury had an RBI single to help the Yankees win the series finale and avoid the sweep.

The last time the Yankees were swept in a three-game interleague series was June 19-21, 2007, at Colorado.

Eovaldi (4-2) retired 18 straight after Jean Segura doubled to lead off the game.

Segura eventually came around to score on a Paul Goldschmidt RBI groundout.

But other than that, Eovaldi was perfect, not allowing another base runner and striking out five to win his third start in a row and fourth in five starts overall.

Eovaldi, who left with a 3-1 lead, improved to 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA in eight career games (five starts) against the D-backs.

Three relievers backed up Eovaldi’s performance with Aroldis Chapman earning the save, the 150th of his career. Chapman hit 100 mph five times in the ninth inning, twice reaching 102 mph on fastballs to Goldschmidt.

The Yankees scored three of their four runs off Shelby Miller, who again was unable to complete six innings. He worked 5.2, giving up three runs on 10 hits, including the Gardner home run two batters into the game.

Ellsbury added a run-scoring single in the sixth, part of a three-hit effort.

Miller (1-5) is now tied with Patrick Corbin for the team-lead with nine home runs allowed.

The D-backs finished 2-5 on their seven-game homestand.

THE GOOD

Though primarily an infielder, Brandon Drury looked like a natural right fielder in the first inning. Not only did he show his range but his athleticism as well, holding onto the ball for out number two as he crashed—face first—into the fence to rob Mark Teixeira of extra bases on a hard-hit line drive. Drury was shaken up on the play, but he remained in the game after the training staff briefly looked at his left knee.

Always hustling, Segura opened the home-half of the first inning with a double when his ground ball up the middle ricocheted off the bag and landed in shallow center field. Segura raced around first and reached second base standing up. Two batters later, he scored on Goldschmidt’s RBI grounder for the D-backs’ first run, trimming the Yankees lead to 2-1. It was Segura’s 21st run scored, second-most on the team.

The date was August 20, 2015. The place: Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. That’s the last time Chris Owings had homered before leading off the eighth inning with a solo shot off reliever Andrew Miller. Owings clubbed an 82-mph slider on an 0-2 count and put the baseball halfway up into the seats in left field. It was only the second D-backs hit of the game and first since Segura’s double to begin the game.

THE BAD

Well that didn’t take long ; 11 pitches to be exact. The Yankees jumped on Miller for a pair of first-inning runs. Just two batters into the ballgame, Gardner hammered a 1-2 changeup—clocked at 84-mph—several rows deep into the right-field seats. It was Gardner’s his fifth home run of the season and first hit of the series, and it scored leadoff batter Ellsbury who had reached on a six-pitch walk.

From the second through fifth innings, Miller flirted with danger, putting a runner in scoring position each frame. The good news here is that he stranded each of the four base runners at second base every time. The bad news, of course, is the undue stress he put on his body and the defense behind him. Through the first three innings alone, Miller allowed eight base runners, leaving five on base.

And then came the sixth inning. Miller was unable to strand a runner in scoring position for a fifth straight inning as Ellsbury plated Chase Headley with a two-out single, his fourth time reaching base against Miller. What’s interesting here is manager Chip Hale went to visit Miller prior to the Ellsbury at-bat. After some discussion, Hale left and Miller remained for two final pitches, his 100th and 101st.

After the first two batters reached base to open the seventh inning, the D-backs, trailing 3-1 at the time, failed on three separate chances to, not only score the runners but advance them 90 feet. Jake Lamb and Drury each struck out while Welington Castillo flied out to center to end the threat. Through seven innings, the D-backs were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and had stranded two.

STAT OF THE GAME

18: The number of batters Eovaldi retired in a row following Segura’s leadoff double in the first inning.

HE SAID IT

“For me, he earned it,” Hale said, explaining why he let Miller pitch to Ellsbury in the sixth. “It was his game at that point, so you go with him. We had a clear plan how to get him out. It’s just he didn’t execute. But, I’d do it again. He’s our guy.”

NOTED

– Miller consistently got ahead in the count, throwing a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters he faced.

– Phil Gosselin, 0-for-2 with a walk, made his first start in the outfield this season and played left field.

– Jake Barrett, with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings, extended his scoreless streak to seven straight games.

– Zac Curtis, with one strikeout in one-third inning, extended his scoreless streak to seven straight games.

– Due to inclement weather outside, the game was played inside with the roof and panels both closed.

Uniform watch: the D-backs dropped to 2-8 when wearing the red alternate with ‘Snakehead’ cap.

– Legends Race watch: Randy Johnson earned his 150th win, second-most to Luis Gonzalez (162).

UP NEXT

An off day, though in reality it’s a travel day as the D-backs hit the road where they’ll play six games in the next seven days with stops in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

The three-game series against the Cardinals begins Friday.

Corbin and right-hander Carlos Martinez is the mound matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Corbin (1-3) is winless in his past five starts, including three straight no decisions; the latter two, by the way, were quality outings as he threw seven shutout innings at Atlanta and then allowed three runs in 6.1 innings against the Giants.

This will be Corbin’s first start at Busch Stadium.

Meanwhile, Martinez (4-3) will be looking to an end a three-start losing streak.

Martinez opened the season 4-0, including a win at Chase Field on April 26, but has since lost to the Nationals, Pirates and Dodgers surrendering a combined nine earned runs in 15 innings pitched for a 5.40 ERA.

Martinez is 2-0 in six games (two starts) all-time against the D-backs, who have lost seven straight in St. Louis.

These two teams split a four-game series last month.

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