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Despite another quality start, Nuno remains winless

Vidal Nuno retired 20 of 22 hitters he faced Saturday night and lost.
Vidal Nuno retired 20 of 22 hitters he faced Saturday night and lost.
Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Some pitchers are noted for lack of support.

Diamondbacks’ left-hander Vidal Nuno can be counted as one.

Since dealt to Arizona just before the All-Star break, Nuno has turned in four quality starts in August but has nothing to show for these efforts. His latest bout with futility occurred Saturday night when he dropped a tough 2-0 decision to the Colorado Rockies before 27,272.

The Diamondbacks were shut out for the ninth time out this season and now have lost four of their last five games in Chase Field.

The loss dropped Nuno’s record to 0-4 and five no-decisions with Arizona. In his last four starts, Nuno has given up two or less runs and sports a 3.23 ERA since joining the Diamondbacks. Before coming to desert, Nuno was 3-8 and 5.42 ERA in 17 appearances with the Yankees.

“No, I’m not frustrated,” Nuno said. “Just have to keep on fighting and remain positive.”

One pitch doomed Nuno.

That was a second inning home run by Rockies’ first baseman Matt McBride. By his own admission, Nuno said he would like to have the pitch back. McBride delivered a 2-1 hanging curve over the Diamondbacks bull pen and into the seats into his second home run of the season.

After McBride‘s blast, Nuno settled down and retired the next 20 hitters in order. Through his eight innings of work, Nuno retired 20 of the 22 hitters he faced and McBride’s home run and first inning single by Nolan Arenado were the only Colorado runners to reached base.

Overall, Nuno allowed just those two hits, one run, walked none and tied a season-high with seven strikeouts.

“(Nuno) threw strikes and stayed ahead of the count,” said catcher Miguel Montero. “He pounded the strike zone pretty good but unfortunately, we didn’t help him out.”

While Nuno’s run with Arizona has been impressive, the environment may have something to do with his quality starts.

“When he came over there, there was no pressure,” Montero added. “With New York, there’s always pressure to win and he probably thought if he didn’t do well, he would be sent down or dropped from the rotation. Here, he throws everything hard and doesn’t give in.”

For Arizona, Rockies’ starter Tyler Matzek was a bit better. In seven innings, Matzek shut out the Diamondbacks on three hits, three walks and four strikeouts.

Yet, the Diamondbacks has an opportunity to break even or take the lead.

With one out in the eighth, Edner Inciarte lined a single to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Cliff Pennington then grounded back to the mound but Rockies’ reliever Christian Friedrich could not handle to come-backer and the ball glanced off his glove. With Inciatre frozen at the bag at second, that created runners on first and second with one out.

From here, Friedrich stuck out David Peralta and reliever Adam Ottavino induced Mark Trumbo to ground to third and end the threat.

The Rockies added to their lead in the ninth when Charlie Blackmon took reliever Matt Stites over the right field fence for his 16th home run of the season.

In the ninth against Rockies’ closer LaTroy Hawkins, the Diamondbacks has another opportunity. With two out, Jake Lamb walked and Nolan Reimold, who went 2-for-4 in his first game with Arizona, singled to right.

That put runners on first and second but Hawkins blew away pinch-hitter Didi Gregorius with a 95 mile-per-hour fast ball on a 2-2 count to end the game.

Afterward, manager Kirk Gibson told reporters his team needs to be more aggressive at the plate and careful in pitch selection.

“We need to work on getting quality at-bats,” Gibson said. “With a game like Nuno pitched, we need to score. Since coming over here, he’s pitched well and we have not scored for him.”

FINALE

The Rockies series concludes Sunday afternoon.

For Arizona, right-hander Chase Anderson (7-6, 3.90 ERA) faces left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (13-9, 4.19) for the 1:10 p.m. start.

Then, it’s off to San Diego, Los Angeles with the Dodgers and San Francisco for a 10-game trip.