LOS ANGELES - Recent starts for Diamondbacks’ starter Josh Collmenter have not been terribly consistent.
In most cases, Collmenter started slowly but gained strength. In his previous outing before Saturday, he allowed four early runs in a loss to Houston but then retired 16 of the final 18 hitters he faced. The modus operandi for Collmenter appears to a marginal start but strong to finish.
Against the Dodgers Saturday, he was off to a quick beginning and things did not stay positive for long. Unlike several previous starts, Collmenter faltered dramatically in the middle innings and suffered his second straight loss, a 6-4 defeat to the Dodgers before 51,422 in Dodger Stadium.
The defeat extended the Diamondbacks losing streak to four and gave Arizona a 3-10 season record mark with the Dodgers. With the loss, Arizona falls to 17-18 on the road.
After Sunday’s finale, there are only five games left between these two teams. The L. A. victory Saturday also marks the earliest time window in which the Dodgers captured the overall season-series over the D-backs.
While the Diamondbacks out-hit the Dodgers nine to eight for the game, Collmenter could not hold leads of 2-0 and 3-2.
“There’s no reason why this happens,” Collmenter said in trying to explain the difference between strong and weak starts. “Sometimes, you start strong and other times you finish strong. There’s no real pattern.”
At the start, Collmenter was the recipient of a Paul Goldschmidt two-run home run in the first inning and that alone acted as a cause-and-effect. The early lead enabled Collmenter temporarily forgot previous maladies but he proceeded cautiously.
Then, the collapse.
L. A. second baseman Dee Gordon started the ruin by slamming a belt-high fast ball just inside the right field foul pole and into the seats. That two-run homer tied the score in the third inning and only foreshadowed later doom.
Then, the Dodgers added a four-spot in the fourth. The frame was high-lighted by pitcher Dan Haren’s bases-loaded double to right center that cleared the bases.
“It was a fast ball and I guess it was down the middle,” Collmenter said. “It was a bad pitch and came at the worst time. You can’t let the other pitcher beat you.”
That gave the Dodgers a 6-3 lead and, from that point, the Diamondbacks went quietly in the night.
“I didn’t have curve ball command and didn’t have fast ball command,” Collmenter added. “The guys got me leads but I couldn’t hold it.”
From the time Martin Prado singled in the go-ahead run at 3-2 in the fourth, the Diamondbacks managed four, scattered hits the rest of the way. These included a one-out single by Didi Gregorius in the fifth, a two out double by Prado in the sixth, a pinch-hit single from Jordan Pacheco leading off the seventh and a ninth home run from Prado.
With a 3-for-4 night, Prado now has 1,000 hits in his major league career. He is the 26th native of Venezuela to reach that plateau.
Yet, focus was on Haren and his key hit in this game.
“We knew Haren is a pretty good hitting pitcher,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “It was a fast ball and he crushed it.”
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
After the game, a reporter asked Gibson about Prado reaching the 1,000 hit mark.
“I couldn’t care less,” Gibson said with a cold stare. “We just got our butts kicked.”
He didn’t use “butts” but the language was much more colorful and direct. With that comment, he abruptly ended the post-game news conference and chased reporters from his office.