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Sedona Red Recap: Escobar’s first start spoiled, D-backs fall to Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Edwin Escobar throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Monday, May 30, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Maybe it was a bad sign when Edwin Escobar hit the first batter of the game.

The 24-year old lefty made his first ever Major League start on Monday, but suffered some growing pains in the process. After plunking George Springer to open the contest, he was touched up for eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits – all in just 3.1 innings.

By the time he exited, the Arizona Diamondbacks were trailing 8-1. And when the game ultimately ended, they lost to the Houston Astros 8-3 in front of 24,798 fans at Chase Field on Memorial Day afternoon.

Manager Chip Hale said afterwards that he did see some things he liked in Escobar’s repertoire – elements that the club may be able to work with going forward. And Arizona actually held the lead early in this one, courtesy of a Paul Goldschmidt home run in the first inning. But Houston responded with four runs in the second, two in the third and two more in the fourth.

Meanwhile, the D-backs struggled just to get runners on base. Astros starter Collin McHugh settled in after surrendering the Goldschmidt homer, tossing a complete game while scattering just five hits.

The loss snaps Arizona’s modest two-game winning streak and drops the D-backs to 9-19 at home. Overall, they’re now 23-30.

THE GOOD

-Jake Lamb pulled off a stellar defensive play in the top of the sixth, when he dove to his right to snag a sharply hit ball off the bat of Carlos Correa, then fired across his body to first in time for the out. He also hit his eighth home run of the season in the bottom of the ninth inning.

-Goldschmidt is hitting .372 (16-for-43) with three homeruns over his last 13 games.

-In just his second appearance of the year, Josh Collmenter looked much stronger than he did in his first outing. He surrendered just one hit in 1.2 innings of relief work today – after allowing four earned runs in 0.1 innings on Friday.

THE BAD

-The Diamondbacks probably weren’t expecting Escobar to come in and toss a no-hitter. This was his first Major League appearance since 2014, after all, but the fact that he was only able to last 3.1 innings forced Hale to go to the bullpen earlier than he would’ve liked. That means Arizona could really use a solid, lengthy start from Patrick Corbin on Tuesday afternoon.

-Every Houston position player except Marwin Gonzalez managed at least one hit in the game.

-Defensively, the Diamondbacks made two errors, and Arizona pitchers hit three Houston batters.

STAT OF THE GAME

30: Goldschmidt’s first-inning homer landed directly in the right field pool – the 30th time in franchise history that an Arizona player has launched one right into the water. Goldschmidt had done it once before, on June 10, 2014, against these same Astros. The most recent D-back to pull off the feat prior to Monday was A.J. Pollock, who hit one on June 2, 2015, against the Braves.

HE SAID IT

“There’s just been too many games – here at home, especially – where we’re trying to figure out how to get through the game with our pitching. Make sure no one gets hurt, that we have guys for tomorrow and when do we take Goldy out of the game to give him some rest. Those are decisions as a manager and a staff that you don’t want to deal with.” – Chip Hale

NOTED

-After Tuesday’s game, the second half of this series will shift to Minute Maid Park in Houston.

UP NEXT

The second meeting in this four-game, home-and-home series will take place tomorrow afternoon at Chase Field. Patrick Corbin will hit the mound for Arizona while Houston counters with Lance McCullers. First pitch is slated for 12:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN Phoenix 620.

Corbin (2-4) will be making his 11th start of the season. He’s sporting a 4.21 ERA on the year, but that number has come down lately. In his last five games, he’s 1-1, with a 3.52 ERA. Tuesday will be just the second time he’s ever faced the Astros.

McCullers (1-1) got a late start to the season because of a shoulder injury, but he’s looked pretty good since his arrival. Once considered one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, the former first-round pick (No. 41 overall in 2012) will be making his fourth start of the year.

He struggled in his first outing, allowing five runs over 4.2 innings against the Red Sox in Fenway. But he held the Rangers and Orioles to a combined three runs on six hits over 11.0 innings in his next two starts. Tuesday will be the second time he’s met the Diamondbacks in his career.

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