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Home runs doom Miley; Diamondbacks drop third straight

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Though numbers may be there, the results are not.

After all, it’s the bottom line and the number of victories which determine success or faliure. Numbers, someone once said, are simply for losers.

That would include the Diamondbacks of late and starters in the pitching rotation.

Outside of Chase Anderson and Josh Collmenter, starters have not won a game since Bronson Arroyo defeated the Nationals on May 13. Despite the starters’ draught, the team has an 18-4 record when the starting pitcher throws a “quality start.”

That did not happen Sunday and the famine continues. That’s when starter Wade Miley allowed four home runs and lost 4-3 to the Cincinnati Reds before 24,119 in Chase Field.

Through his challenging beginning, Miley remains winless in his last four starts and his last victory was over the White Sox on May 13. On the season, his record dropped to 3-6 and sports an ERA (4.85) approaching five runs per game.

As well, the defeat extended the Diamondbacks’ losing streak to three and had their series winning streak snapped at two.

The four home runs allowed pushes Miley to 14 on the season, and that’s tops among league leaders. He trails only the Brewers’ Marco Estrada, who has allowed 17 round-trippers in 67 innings. Miley’s opponents have 14 home runs in 81.2 innings.

“Guys have now seen me five, six, seven times and maybe they’ll a little more aggressive,” Miley said. “I think I’m throwing well right but things are not going the way I would like”

At this point, Miley discounts any reasoning or rationale and simply says, “I’m not able to shut them down.” The end result is losses piling at an unacceptable rate. Since beating the Rockies on April 6, Miley has just one win, five losses and four no decisions in 10 starts.

“(Miley) pitched well (against the Reds) but they swing the bats well,” was the observation from manager Kirk Gibson. “It’s frustrating, that’s for sure.”

Gibson also weighted in a possible explanation for the home runs Miley had allowed.

“(Miley) may not have as much movement on his ball,” the manager said. “He’s not putting the ball where he wants but then again, you can’t always throw good pitches.”

Otherwise on Sunday, Miley scattered four singles and recorded nine strikeouts. That makes 20 Ks over his last two starts but it was the home runs allowed which proved his downfall.

Miley became only the fifth pitcher since 1914 to allow four home runs, no walks and strike out nine hitters in one game. Still, that’s little consolation to a pitcher whose expectations are greater than the current results.

From an offensive vantage, the Diamondbacks managed to tie this one with a three-spot in the fourth. Then, Chris Heisey drilled a Miley change-up into the left field stands for the game-winner with one out in the fifth, the fourth homer allowed. Earlier, Zach Cozart and Todd Frazier in the second and Ryan Ludwick in the fourth reached the stands off of Miley.

Holding that one run lead, Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman overpowered the Diamondbacks in the ninth and recorded his seventh save of the season.

From Arizona’s perspective, the task for Chapman was made easier because the Cuban-born fireballer faced two players recently called up from Triple-A and one player in Double-A.

In the ninth, Chapman struck out David Peralta, called up earlier Sunday from Double-A Mobile to replace A. J. Pollock, on a 103 mile-per-hour fastball. Ender Inciarte then grounded out on a 90 mile-per-hour breaking pitch and pinch hitter Nick Evans was blown away with a 102 mile-per-hour fast ball to end the game.

As been the pattern most of this frustrating season, the Diamondbacks went quietly in the ninth and enter their next series against the Rockies with a 23-36 record. That would include a major league-leading high 15 games out of first place in their division, the National League West.

NEXT UP

The Diamondbacks hit the road for a brief, three games series against the Rockies at Coors Field.

In the series opener Tuesday night, right-hander Chase Anderson (3-0, 4.02 ERA) starts for Arizona and opposed by lefty Jorge De La Rosa (6-3, 3.66).

On Wednesday, it’s Josh Collmenter (4-2, 3.34) taking on righty Jordan Lyles (5-3, 3.46), and on Thursday, Bronson Arroyo (4-4, 4.39) opposes righty Juan Nicasio (5-3, 4.06).

Then, it’s right back to Chase Field for three next weekend against the Braves and followed by two with the Houston Astros.

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