PHOENIX — Andrew McCutchen expected to be targeted Saturday, and one former major league pitcher said he believed McCutchen looked a little skittish in his first at-bat, as if he knew something was coming.
That is not the way Chase Anderson wanted to play it.
Anderson pitched around McCutchen in the first inning Saturday, walking him with one out and a runner on second base, before stranding both runners to get out of the inning.
"I never try to hit guys," Anderson said. "We have to pitch inside. You don’t want to leave balls over the plate. But I’m never going to try to hit somebody. I just want to do my job and give the team a chance to win and go deep in a game.
"You don’t want to hit somebody and get kicked out of the game."
Randall Delgado was ejected when he hit McCutchen with runners on second and third and one out in the ninth inning, McCutchen’s fifth plate appearance.
McCutchen said afterward he felt retaliation would be coming after D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt suffered a season-ending fractured left hand when he was struck by a pitch from Pirates right-hander Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning Friday. Anderson said he never has been asked to hit an opponent.
"It’s just a tough situation to be in," Anderson said. "You want to protect your teammates but you don’t want to hurt somebody else, too. It’s part of the game, too. I know the guy hit Goldy on an accident. We don’t really want to hurt their star player either. We want to win the game, we don’t want to hit people."
Anderson has been a revelation since being purchased from Double-A Mobile. Anderson, who did not get a decision after giving up one run in six innings Saturday, is 6-4 with a 3.19 ERA in 13 starts. Seven of his past 10 starts have been quality, and he has given up more than three runs only twice.
Anderson has pitched 112 1/3 innings this season, a career high since signing in 2009, but his success seems to alleviate any fears the D-backs may have had about extended use. He was given 13 days off around the All-Star break to ease his workload.
"Right now he looks good," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Since he came out of that break he’s been solid. You kind of see what kind of game he throws. He nibbles sometimes too much, and it’s part of his effectiveness. Sometimes you can throw too many strikes in the zone."
Anderson, whose best off-speed pitch is a change-up, has been effective at taking advantage of an opponents’ aggressiveness.
"He is pretty good when he gets in behind counts, because he has multiple pitches to throw," Gibson said. "That’s one of the advantages of having three solid pitches."
Anderson’s next start in scheduled to be Saturday against Kansas City.