All Trevor Cahill wanted was another chance.
First banned to the bullpen from the Diamondbacks’ rotation and then exiled to the minors, Cahill apparently cleaned up his act enough to satisfy management and bring the native of Oceanside, Calif. back into good grace.
Recalled from Triple-A Reno during the recent All-Star break, Cahill returned to the rotation Friday night against the Chicago Cubs amid the expectation of improvement.
Instead, it was more of the same old, same old.
Though effective through the first three innings, Cahill hit in the wall in the fourth and surrendered three runs in five innings of work. Eventually, the Diamondbacks picked up Cahill and came-from-behind to score a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs before 32,619 in Chase Field.
Though he received a no-decision, the performance by Cahill was not particularly strong and not the kind of result the Diamondbacks would like to see.
Though manager Kirk Gibson was diplomatic after the game, he praised Cahill on his effort and for his ability to attempt to exorcise demons from the past.
“I thought he looked good and was pretty efficient,” Gibson said. “He threw from behind while in the stretch and that was an issue we wanted him to address. That has to do more with the position of his hands but he got his work in and now moves forward.”
For his part, Cahill said he was just satisfied to be back in the majors. Time spent in the purgatory of the minors did not set well with him and Cahill admitted he enjoys the comfort level of being back in Chase Field.
“I was excited and nervous about coming back,” he said. “You’re competing at the highest level here and I felt much better this time around.”
Cahill acknowledged he had trouble with runners on base and said he needs to refine his delivery from the stretch. Yet overall, Cahill pointed out, he was satisfied with the effort.
“I wanted to go as far as I could,” he said. “I felt good and kept saying to himself, stay under control and pitch my game. Look, I have a lot of improvement to make and I’m still a work in progress.”
On the night, Cahill allowed four hits, three runs, all earned, walked two, fanned three and gave up a two-run home run to Anthony Rizzo in the fourth.
If Cahill was marginal, the Diamondbacks showed little rust from the recent All-Star break. They fell behind 3-0 and 4-2 but managed to claw their way into the lead.
At the same time, the D-backs offense picked up Cahill and took the lead with a three-spot in the sixth. The frame was highlighted by Paul Goldschmidt’s 17th home run of the season and a two-out RBI single from Didi Gregorius.
In the end, Gregorius’ game-winner in the sixth held up and the bullpen of Evan Marshall, Brad Zielger and closer Addison Reed held the Cubs to one hit and two base runners over the final three innings.
To preserve the win, Reed had to pitch out of a runner-on-third situation in the ninth and one out.
The event was somewhat Reed’s doing as he walked Justin Ruggiano with one out in the inning. After Ruggiano stole second and went to third on a throwing error from catcher Miguel Montero, Reed managed to retire Ryan Sweeney on a pop-up to third and ended the game by striking out Wellington Castillo on a 93 mile-per-hour fast ball.
“I’m pleased with the outcome but walks are never good,” Reed said. “Overall, it was good to get the win and open the second half on a good note. Hopefully, we can keep this rolling.
Third baseman Martin Prado was ejected from his first major league in the eighth inning.
Though he innocently grounded to shortstop to open the frame, Prado, on his way back to the dugout, told plate umpire Cory Blaser that he did not appreciate Blaser’s ball-strike decisions.
That immediately prompted Blaser to wave his right arm and bounce Prado. Manager Kirk Gibson rushed out of the dugout in defense of Prado but was tossed as well by Jim Joyce, the crew chief who worked first base in the game.
For Gibson, that was his ninth career ejection and the second this season. Previously, Gibson was banished on June 16 against Milwaukee.
“I was frustrated and over-reacted, Prado said afterward. “It’s part of the game and there’s a lot of emotion.”
In 933 games, that’s the first banishment for Prado, who joked, “I was trying for 1,000 but came up short.”
ODDS AND ENDS FROM THE FIRST HALF
The Diamondbacks pitching staff set a club record for most strikeouts prior to the All-Star break. Collectively, pitchers fanned 756 hitters and broke the mark of 723 set last season. That followed 721 in 2008, 698 in 2003 and 694 in 2002. … infielder Andrew Velazquez from Single-A South Bend established a Minor League record for reaching base in consecutive games. From April 22 to July 16, Velazquez reached base in 74 straight games and that broke the mark of 71 set by Kevin Millar in 1997 and equaled by Kevin Youkilis in 2003. … since making his major league debut on June 1, outfielder David Peralta ranks fourth among rookies in average and sixth in hits. … Paul Goldschmidt hammered 36 doubles before the break and that represents a club record. That also put him just behind the Brewers’ Lyle Overbay (37 in 2004), Craig Biggio of Houston (38 in 1999) and the Orioles’ Manny Machado, who hit 39 in 2013 for most doubles since 1999 prior to the All-Star game.