SAN DIEGO - The performance may not have been as strong as the last two nights but the Diamondbacks will take the result.
Where Bronson Arroyo and Brandon McCarthy totally handcuffed the San Diego Padres in the opening two games of this weekend set, Wade Miley could be classified as effective. In going seven innings, Miley allowed three runs and six hits but did not factor in the outcome. Eventually, the Diamondbacks dropped a 4-3 decision to the Padres before 32,657 Sunday afternoon in Petco Park on Yonder Alonso‘s second career walk-off effort in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With success late in games and particularly in their final at-bat, the reverse was true Sunday for Arizona. That’s when Alonso’s grounder to first scored Cameron Maybin form third and the Padres salvaged the final game of this weekend series.
“Not much of a chance on that play,” said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. “We had the infield in but Maybin was moving on the pitch and it was a swinging bunt from Alonso. Really, you can’t feel good about this because we had our chances.”
Despite a solid effort, Miley remains winless in his last five starts. That includes losses to the Dodgers on Opening Day in Sydney, Australia, to the Dodgers again on April 12 as well as losing to the Rockies on April 28. Plus, there have been three no decisions, including Sunday.
This was the fourth, consecutive quality start Miley turned in against the Padres.
Still, he seemed satisfied with the effort and his ability to keep the Diamondbacks competitive.
“I battled all day and didn’t have full command of my fast ball,” Miley said. “They gave me three runs there but I let them back in the game. I was unable to locate and when that happens, you have to battle.”
The pitch Miley would like to have back was slider which hung over the plate to San Diego catcher Rene Rivera. With the Diamondbacks up 3-1 in the fourth, the Padres had runners on first and second and two out when Rivera laced a double into the left field corner to score two and knot matters.
“Wade battled out there and always gives you his best effort,” said catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, who contributed with a two-run single in the fourth. “The pitch to Rivera was the wrong pitch at the wrong location and it costs us.”
Early, the Diamondbacks staked Miley to a two-run lead on Paul Goldschmidt’s fifth home run of the season and that two-run single from Gosewisch in the fourth.
After Rivera tied the game in the fourth, he also figured in the game-winning rally in the ninth.
Here, Maybin beat out an infield single on a play where the replay challenge overturned the original ruling. That was an out at first but Padres’ manager Bud Black challenged the call and the decision was overturned.
After reliever Oliver Perez caught Wil Verable looking a third strike, Rivera drilled a double over the head of Gerardo Parra to the fence in right field. With the infield in and Maybin moving on the pitch, Alonso’s soft grounder was barehanded by Goldschmidt but the throw to catcher Miguel Montero was late and ended the Diamondbacks modest winning streak at three games.
Despite the Sunday loss, there seems to be a renewed spirit in the clubhouse.
“I thought we played well this weekend,” Gosewisch said. “I like where we are headed.”
INJURIES AND ILLNESS
On the medical front, manager Kirk Gibson reported that outfielder A. J. Pollock is still unable to start and play an entire game.
Suffering from a groin injury, Gibson said before Sunday’s game with the Padres he is reluctant to place Pollock on the disabled list.
In his last 12 games, Pollock is hitting .326 (14-for-43) with three doubles, and three home runs.
“I considered playing (Pollock) in left field in Saturday’s game and that’s because there is less movement and running in that position,” Gibson said. “He’s really not disabled and in pretty good shape. It’s not at the point where he needs to go on the disabled list and we’ll see over the next few days if there’s any improvement.”
Pollock was used as pinch runner for Cody Ross in the ninth inning Sunday and stayed in the game to play left field.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Gibson was asked about the availability of Trevor Cahill.
To start the eighth inning behind starter Brandon McCarthy Saturday, Gibson put in left-hander Joe Thatcher to face Cameron Maybin and Alexi Amarista, both right-handed hitters. After each reached Thatcher for singles, Gibson went to Brad Ziegler who induced pinch-hitter Xavier Nady to ground into a double play and retired Everth Cabrera to ground out to first.
“Cahill was not available to pitch (Saturday),” Gibson said. “He’s been really sick, the flu and stomach virus the last few days. He’s feeling a little better and whether I use him depends on how he feels and the game situation.”
CATCHING UP WITH OLD FRIENDS
Some pundits still argue the deal to bring outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks was unnecessary.
Because Adam Eaton was considered the left-off hitter A. J. Pollock a dependable number two hitter in the order, the D-backs were set to go after opponents with “small ball.”
The organization didn’t see things that way and dealt Eaton to the Chicago White Sox as part of a three-team deal. Trumbo arrived in the desert with hopes of a big bat to jump-start the Arizona power game.
Immediately, Eaton was given the Sox center field job and inserted as the lead-off hitter.
That lasted nearly a month because Eaton has been plagued with two injuries in the first month of the season. On Saturday, Eaton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring strain. Earlier last month April, Eaton suffered from a left knee strain and lost five games between April 20 and 24.
“My legs have basically made me successful so I have to take care of them,” Eaton told MLB.com “So, take 15 day and we’ll be excited.”
For former all-star and a member of the D-backs bullpen corps last season Health Bell, the news is not as encouraging.
As a part of an Arizona bullpen which led the majors in blown saves and Bell received a healthy of criticism for his lack of contribution, he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays over the winter.
His lack of production continued under Rays’ manager John Maddon until Bell essentially walked the plank.
Just before Tampa’s game with the Yankees in New York Sunday, Bell was designated for assignment. That means the Rays have 10 days to trade him or put him on waivers before he would report to the minors.
In 13 games with Tampa this season, Bell registered a 1-1 record and a 7.27 ERA. In parts of the past three seasons, Bell posted an ERA of 4.91. That’s after he signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Marlins in 2012.
In his place, the Rays called up right-hander Nathan Karns from Triple A Durham.
PITCHING MATCH-UPS FOR MILWAUKEE
The road trip continues Monday in Milwaukee for three with the Brewers.
Right-hander Mike Bolsinger (1-1. 5.79 ERA) will open the series for Arizona and opposes righty Matt Garza (1-3, 5.00). On Tuesday night, Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.77) takes on righty Marco Estrada (2-1, 3.13) and on Wednesday afternoon, it’s Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 6.03) and Wily Peralta (4-1, 2.04).
The trip concludes next weekend with a three game series against the White Sox on Chicago’s South Side.