Four solo home runs doom Miley
JUN 01, 2014 9:07p ET
PHOENIX -- Whatever the explanation -- poor pitches, bad luck, aggressive hitters or otherwise -- four home runs did in the Diamondbacks on Sunday, dispelling any notion that solo shots can't beat you.
"You give up four of them they can beat you," D-backs starting pitcher Wade Miley said.
Miley gave up each of the homers in a 4-3 loss to the Reds at Chase Field, continuing a long ball trend that's dogged the D-backs through the season's first two months.
"He pitched well except for the four pitches, and those guys hammered them," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Miley gave up a pair of homers in the second inning, to Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier. Ryan Ludwick crushed the third to deep left field in the fourth and Chris Heisey added to the damage with a blast in the fifth.
Sunday's homers, Miley said, were a more a matter of Reds being aggressive than Miley missing his spots or leaving the ball up.
"The first one (Cozart) was just aggressive," Miley said. "I tried to go down and away but I left it up in the middle, and he's an aggressive hitter. I understand that one a little better than the other three.
"Two of them were off the plate away."
Gibson shared a similar sentiment, tipping his cap to the Reds. But no matter the explanations, hitters are hammering the D-backs pitching staff this season.
The D-backs' 69 home runs allowed through Sunday leads the majors, one ahead of the Brewers. Miley has accounted for 14 of those, a tally that already matches his 2012 total and is two thirds of the way to his total last season.
Miley's 14 home runs allowed are second most in the majors, behind Milwaukee's Marco Estrada (17). Brandon McCarthy has allowed 11, a total tied for sixth most, and Josh Collmenter has given up nine, which puts him in the top 20. Last season, the D-backs ranked fifth in the majors for home runs allowed.
Gibson couldn't offer an explanation for the rash of home runs lately -- the Reds hit six in the series after coming to Arizona with fewer home runs than just four other teams -- but conceded his pitchers are paying for their mistakes.
"You can't say they're all good pitches," Gibson said. "You hope you can get away with some bad pitches, but they're impacting a lot of pitches that are going out of the park. They're not exactly where they need to be. We've had to pay for it."
The D-backs' troubles this season certainly haven't been about home runs alone. The team's issues are myriad. But they were the problem Sunday, odd as they looked next to Miley's nine strikeouts and zero walks.
"I felt great," Miley said. "I felt like I was getting ahead in counts, moving the ball around -- it was just those four pitches.
"I don't know if you call it bad luck. I mean, make better pitches."
The D-backs managed to tie Sunday's game with a three-run fourth inning, but the fourth Reds home run made for a lead that stood. Miley finished with eight hits allowed over six innings. For the second time in the series, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman closed out the game with his overpowering fastball.
"It just wasn't meant to be today, and that's frustrating," Gibson said. "At the end they just kind of shut us down."
DID YOU NOTICE?
The D-backs have won six of their last nine series dating to May 2. Good as that may sound, the D-backs are worse off than when that stretch began. The D-backs have gone 13-14 in that stretch, getting swept by the Cardinals and losing three of four to the Reds. The series wins don't mean much when the series losses set the team back to where they began or worse.
STAT OF THE GAME
4 -- Home runs allowed by Miley on Sunday. Miley has now allowed 14 homers this season, second most in the majors.
-- Miley became the fifth pitcher in the era of statistics to allow four home runs in a game while also recording nine strikeouts and zero walks. Reds starter Homer Bailey did the same earlier this season.
-- Gibson said shortstop Cliff Pennington is still dealing with some soreness in his left hand after jamming it earlier in the week. Pennington started Sunday, though, going 0 for 4.
-- For the first time in franchise history Sunday, the D-backs starting lineup featured five Venezuelans: catcher Miguel Montero, infielder Martin Prado and outfielders Gerardo Parra, Ender Inciarte and David Peralta, who was called up from Double-A Mobile on Sunday. All five players collected a hit, the first time a team had five Venezuelan starters do so in the same game.
-- Peralta became the fifth D-backs player to make his major league debut this season, joining Inciarte and pitchers Mike Bolsinger, Chase Anderson and Evan Marshall. In his debut, Peralta went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles.
With his last out of the game, Gibson chose to pinch hit Nick Evans, who had batted just once (also against Chapman) since being called up Wednesday, over a more experienced player on his bench like Cody Ross or Chris Owings. He explained the choice after the game:
"I didn't think it was a good matchup for Cody," Gibson said. "His bat's been a little slow. He's 0 for 2 with two strikeouts (against Chapman). Nick has at least seen (Chapman) already. I thought maybe it was the way to go, and if he gets on I'd run Chris Owings for him and try to steal a base."