CINCINNATI — The Arizona Diamondbacks handed the Cincinnati Reds just enough scoring opportunities to sustain another tough loss.
Shin-Soo Choo scored in the eighth inning on Arizona’s fourth wild pitch of the game, and the Cincinnati Reds squeezed out an improbable 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Choo scored both Cincinnati runs, helping send the Diamondbacks to their third loss in the four-game series after they won two out of three at Central Division-leading Pittsburgh, including a 16-inning, 4-2 win on Sunday.
Cincinnati (73-55) improved to a season-high 18 games over .500 and increased its lead over Arizona to seven games in the race for the National League’s second wild-card playoff spot.
“It’s extremely tough,” said rookie outfielder Adam Eaton, who had two of Arizona’s five hits against Cincinnati starter Mat Latos. “We came in here off a big win in Pittsburgh. Flying in here, we had high hopes. We ended up on the wrong side of things.”
Choo singled to lead off the eighth against reliever Eury De La Rosa (0-1) and moved to second when De La Rosa’s pickoff attempt rolled away from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Todd Frazier sacrificed Choo to third, and Choo scored when ball four to Joey Votto was a wild pitch.
“That’s a ball that needs to be caught,” Goldschmidt said of De La Rosa’s error. “It hit the top of my glove and rolled away.”
Latos went eight innings for the win. In his previous three starts, Latos (13-4) had received only five runs of offensive support. He made the most of two runs on Thursday, allowing just one to Arizona.
Latos struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone and hit one batter with a pitch.
Sam LeCure gave up two hits in the ninth, but managed to earn his first career save.
Arizona starter Trevor Cahill, in his second start since coming off the disabled list, allowed four hits and one run in seven innings. It gave a boost to the bullpen that was taxed in a 10-7 loss on Wednesday when every reliever was used. Cahill walked three, struck out seven and threw three wild pitches — all in the third inning.
Cahill allowed two hits but still faced the minimum 12 batters over his final four innings, with help from a caught stealing and a double-play ball. He credited a mechanical adjustment for his sudden turnaround.
“My front side was not in a strong position, and it was letting my arm leak out and be in position to do whatever it wanted to do,” he said. “(Seven innings) was my goal the whole time. I knew my bullpen had been used up.”
In the third, the Reds put runners on second and third with one out. Brandon Phillips cashed in the opportunity with a run-scoring groundout for a 1-0 lead. Cahill entered the game with 11 wild pitches this season, and now has a major league-high 14.
“He struggled that inning,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “They scored two runs on four wild pitches and an error. We gave them five bases. Latos threw the ball well, too. We had opportunities. We didn’t get the hits.
“It’s very frustrating. Not a happy series. Disappointing. We thought we had a good chance to win. They scored both of their runs (because of) wild pitches. It’s tough to swallow.”
The Diamondbacks took a more conventional route in getting even 1-1 in fourth. Adam Eaton and Goldschmidt led off with singles, Arizona’s first hits off of Latos. Martin Prado hit into a double play, but Aaron Hill rapped a sharp one-hopper that third baseman Frazier couldn’t handle. Hill was credited with a run-scoring infield hit.
NOTES: Cincinnati RHP Jonathan Broxton is expected to have surgery after he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right forearm. … The Reds moved RHP Johnny Cueto to the 60-day disabled list to open a roster spot for RHP Nick Christiani, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville. … Arizona C Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 with a double and a walk. INF Willie Bloomquist was 2-for-3 with a run scored on Wednesday while on rehab assignments with the team’s rookie-level Arizona League affiliate. … LHP Wade Miley (9-8) is Arizona’s scheduled starter in Friday’s opener of a three-game series at Philadelphia … RHP Homer Bailey (8-10) is due to start at home for the Reds against Milwaukee.