D-backs let late lead slip away
LOS ANGELES — The Diamondbacks could not get out of their own way Saturday, and the final play was simply another example.
Even had Jordan Pacheco avoided a bouncing ball up the middle that struck him on the left foot for the final out of a 6-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, the D-backs still would have had work to do.
The D-backs built three leads, the first on a two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning, but could not hold any of them, dropping to 10-14 and into last place for the first time this season in the tough NL West.
"Our bullpen is going to have to figure out what it takes to get these guys out," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We had a good situation. We had the right guys, the guys we want in the game. We’re just not getting the job done."
Evan Marshall rolled through the first two batters in the seventh while protecting a 4-3 lead before Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson tied it up with home run to left-center field, his second in as many games in the series.
Justin Turner followed by guiding an opposite field double down the right field line and Howie Kendrick rolled a grounder into shallow right field, just past a diving Aaron Hill, to make it 5-4. Jimmy Rollins singled in a run off Brad Ziegler in the ninth, the first run Ziegler allowed this season.
"It was a first-pitch fastball to Pederson," Marshall said. "He’d been struggling all night, but he got all of that one. The pitch had a lot of movement on it, but it was definitely down the middle. He’s a dangerous hitter and you can’t make mistakes like that to a guy with that kind of ability.
"Turner was able to keep that ball fair, and then the ground ball to Kendrick. It was frustrating but I’ve just got to keep attacking. I just need to execute a put-away pitch there to Kendrick and take advantage of an 0-2 count. I’m happy he hit the ball on the ground, but it was still an RBI single."
Marshall was one of the best setup men in the National League for the last three months of last season, with 11 holds and a 1.80 ERA in his final 37 appearances. He finished in the top five among rookies in holds, appearances and strikeouts, which makes this season struggles — 0-1, 7.45 ERA, 22 runners in 9 2/3 innings — so hard to figure.
"We have to get him back to that," Hale said of the 2014 Marshall. "He showed some pitches that he is and then leaves a couple of balls up. We trust him in that spot. We’re going to keep throwing him out there and he’ll get better, I’m sure of it."
Goldschmidt’s 16th career homer off the Dodgers made it 2-0 off Scott Baker, but the Dodgers countered with a Turner home run and an RBI double by Adrian Gonzalez in their first off Jeremy Hellickson.
Ender Inciarte, who had two hits, singled in a run in the second before the Dodgers tied it at 3 on Scott Van Slyke’s single in the third.
Hill’s first homer of the season made it 4-3 in the fourth.
"Any time you can contribute especially when you’re not playing every day is nice," Hill said. "Been feeling good. It’s just a matter for me of getting some at-bats."
With Hellickson getting stronger — he retired the last seven he faced — before Andrew Chafin picked him up in the sixth, the D-backs appeared in good shape with Marshall, Ziegler and closer Addison Reed lined up for the final three innings.
Then came the Dodgers’ rally, however, and the D-backs lost their last chance when base runner Jordan Pacheco was struck by David Peralta’s ground ball near second base for the final out of the game. Pacheco was not being held on and took off for second base on the play.
"Obviously I didn’t see the ball," Pacheco said. "I took off and looked in after my first two steps just to make sure he wasn’t going to throw over. I just thought about getting to second base and then I heard the bat and I was just hoping it wasn’t going to hit me and it hit me. I should have looked up as soon as I heard the bat. The probability of that is probably slim especially right on the tip of the foot, but that’s how it bounced and it bounced right into my foot."
Hale: "To lose a game with getting a hit and a runner getting hit by a ball, it’s really embarrassing is what it is. It is a tough way to lose."
The D-backs had a game end exactly the same way on Aug. 4, 2001, when Mark Grace hit a sharp ground ball headed toward left field that struck David Dellucci, who jumped but could not get out of the way. The Mets won 4-2.
10 — runs Hellickson has given up this season in the first two innings. He has given up six run in all other innings.
* As always, L.A.-based agent Scott Boras is at Dodger Stadium for the D-backs-Dodgers series this weekend, and the D-backs may be seeing a lot of him as the June draft approaches. Boras serves as a pre-draft advisor to a handful of the top players every year, and this year his talent pool is expected to include Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, Santa Barbara right-hander Dillon Tate and Eagle’s Landing High (McDonough, Ga.) outfielder Daz Cameron, the son of former major league outfielder Mike Cameron. Funkhouser, a 6-foot-3 right-hander who has been clocked at 96-97 mph, was named the top pro prospect by Baseball America after his performance with USA Baseball’s national college team last summer and is likely to be considered by the D-backs for the first overall pick.
* Pacheco started for the second time in three games, and his playing time could increase if he continues to hit well. "That’s the way baseball is," Hale said. "You want to play the hot guy. Pacheco’s three-run homer Wednesday was the first for a D-backs catcher this season, and he is hitting .261 with five RBI in 23 at-bats. He has made five starts. Tuffy Gosewisch is hitting .169 with four RBI in 17 starts.
* With his double off the left-center field fence in the first inning, Yasmany Tomas has reached base in all eight starts this season.
* There is no need to promote Robbie Ray until Tuesday, when he is scheduled to start at Colorado, so the D-backs will stick with what they have until then. It will be interesting to see what move they make when forced — they are in a stretch of 26 games in 27 days, and it is conceivable they could carry 13 pitchers for a short time. "We are evaluating everything right now," Hale said. Enrique Burgos was promoted when Archie Bradley was placed on the disabled list.
Reno outfielder Peter O’Brien and Visalia right-hander Zack Godley were the organization’s players of the month for April. Not only did O’Brien hit seven homers at Reno, he also led the minor leagues with 31 hits and was second with 15 extra-base hits. Godley was 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA and was scored upon in only one of his four outings.