Lee, Papelbon too much as big hit evades D-backs
MAY 11, 2013 10:17p ET
But sometimes it just does not happen, and the 3-1 loss to Philadelphia at Chase Field was one of those times.
Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon got big outs when they needed them, and even though the Phillies left 11 runners on base, they made just enough of their chances to stop the D-backs’ winning streak at five.
The Diamondbacks have won nine games in their last at-bat this season and have won 10 one-run games, and they were this close to another against Papelbon in the ninth inning.
Gerardo Parra singled and and pinch hitter Eric Chavez doubled with one out in the inning to put the tying runs a single away, but Papelbon struck out the final two batters for his sixth save.
“You are not going to win every game,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “What we try to do is not let it get out of hand. Things just kind of didn’t go our way.”
Some things did.
A.J. Pollock hustled his way to first a first-inning double off Lee, and his double in the third inning put him into the NL lead with 14 this season. Only Mike Napoli of the Red Sox, with 16, has more doubles this year. Pollock is not a stats guy, but he did say, “That’s cool.”
Paul Goldschmidt took a hit away from Domonic Brown with a quick move to his right in fourth inning, and second baseman Josh Wilson and shortstop Didi Gregorius turned an impressive double play to limit the Phillies to one run in the seventh. Philadelphia also put four of its first five batters on base in the eighth inning but only scored one run.
Trevor Cahill did not have his best command of his two-seam fastball, but he still gave up only one run in five innings and struck out Ryan Howard three times, the first two on changeups and the last on a fastball.
Cahill threw 96 pitches and left for a pinch hitter in the fifth. He walked four, the second time in the last four starts he has done that. Walks can be a leading indicator for Cahill, who has 20 in 50 innings. He has three five-inning starts and has walked four, four and three in those outings.
“I kind of lost command of the sinker. I don’t know why it is so inconsistent. One game I feel like I have command of it, and the next start I can’t even throw one,” Cahill said.
The only run the Phillies scored off Cahill came after he walked Ben Revere to open the fifth inning.
“I was trying to throw it down the middle and I couldn’t get it anywhere close,” he said. “It was just a mechanical thing or something. When I finished, my follow through was something every single time. I think that contributes a lot to when I can’t throw the ball consistently where I want it.”
The D-backs ran into a location master on the other side in Lee, who improved to 4-2 with seven shutout innings and got out of some trouble. Pollock got to third base with one out in the first but could not get in. The D-backs then loaded the bases on singles by Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra before a walk to Josh Wilson with two outs in the seventh, but Lee got pinch hitter Wil Nieves to ground out.
Parra had three hits on the day, and Cody Ross had the RBI with sacrifice fly off Papelbon in the eighth, when the D-backs stranded two.
“It’s not the last one he’s gong to throw that way. He’s thrown a lot of games that way,” Gibson said of Lee.
“Total command of the strike zone, throwing the ball wherever he wanted it, in and out, up and down. We tip our hat. We were fortunate to have a chance to win.”
The D-backs will take a small victory, the kind that they relish if they can't get the big one. Papelbon’s save was his first five-out save since July 14, 2012, and the D-backs made him throw enough pitches, 29, to cast his availability for the final game of the series Sunday in doubt. The D-backs think about things like that, too.
“They battled hard. I got no problem with that,” Gibson said.