PHOENIX (AP) — The Diamondbacks scored four runs in the first inning and had some good opportunities to add to their lead later in the game.
They couldn’t do it, and now they have their first losing streak of the season.
Miguel Montero drove in three runs and Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer, but the D-backs couldn’t rally after Brandon McCarthy gave up five runs in the fourth inning, leading to a 6-5 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night.
“All in all, it was a game we didn’t play very well in,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We didn’t execute when we needed to and they did. They out-executed us and their (relievers) came in and pounded us hard late in the game.”
The Pirates fell into an early hole after James McDonald (1-1) allowed four runs in the first inning but rallied with a five-run fourth off McCarthy (0-1).
Garrett Jones had three hits and two RBIs, Starling Marte drove in two runs and scored twice, and the Pirates had 11 hits to start their first winning streak of the season.
Neil Walker drove in two runs during Pittsburgh’s big inning against McCarthy, and the bullpen was solid the rest of the way, with Jason Grilli getting through the ninth for his third save.
The Pirates have scored 11 runs in the first two games of the series after managing eight over the previous six games combined.
“We’ve got some guys that can hit and they’re going to hit. We’re not going to hit .120 all year long,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We got some balls to hit, so we feel like we can compete in the box, stretch out some at-bats, and we’ve been able to do that the last couple of nights.”
McDonald dropped his first start due to a lack of run support, losing to the Cubs despite allowing a run in seven innings.
The right-hander got off to a rough start against the Diamondbacks, walking two of the first three batters he faced before giving up a two-run double to Montero and Kubel’s two-run homer to left that put Arizona up 4-1.
McDonald was sharp after that, though, holding the Diamondbacks in check until he walked Paul Goldschmidt to lead off the sixth.
McDonald allowed four runs on four hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts.
“The one thing James was able to do was compete,” Hurdle said. “The first inning wasn’t very good. He was able to make some adjustments, did regroup and he fought the next four innings.”
Unlike in his previous start, the Pirates gave McDonald some help.
Coming off a horrific injury after a line drive hit him in the head last September, McCarthy wasn’t particularly sharp last time in his Diamondbacks debut, allowing six runs on nine hits in five-plus innings against the Cardinals on April 3. He didn’t get a decision, though, as the D-backs won 10-9 in 16 innings.
He needed more help from the Diamondbacks’ bats after another not-so-great performance.
McCarthy gave up a run in the first inning on Jones’ run-scoring single before stranding runners at second and third. He induced an inning-ending double play to escape another jam in the second, but things fell apart in the fourth, starting when Kubel misplayed a liner in right by Pedro Alvarez for an error.
Marte followed with a two-run double, Walker knocked in two more with a single — ending an 0-for-21 streak — and Jones put the Pirates up 6-4 with a run-scoring single.
McCarthy allowed six runs — four earned — and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, although he thought he threw the ball much better than the results showed.
“There was no problem with consistency, there was no problem with anything,” he said. “For the way I felt and the way I threw it, it was an unacceptable outing.”
The Diamondbacks couldn’t bail him out this time.
Montero hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to 6-5, but Mark Melancon worked a perfect eighth and Grilli got Aaron Hill on a popup to end the game after giving up a two-out hit to Martin Prado.
NOTES: The Diamondbacks committed two errors after making one in the first seven games. … LHP Wade Miley will pitch Wednesday against the Pirates after a stellar opening start. The runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year last season, he allowed one run in six innings with eight strikeouts to beat the Brewers on Friday. … LHP Jonathan Sanchez will pitch for the Pirates in the third game of the series after allowing three runs and six hits over five-plus innings in his Pittsburgh debut against the Dodgers on Friday night.