D-backs fall as hit batter fuels emotions
PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was long gone from the dugout Saturday night when his team's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates got much more interesting.
With Gibson ejected after arguing about a replay review that didn't go Arizona's way in the bottom of the second inning, the Diamondbacks squandered a chance to take the lead in the seventh and then saw reliever Randall Delgado tossed from the game for hitting Pirates star Andrew McCutchen in the back with a pitch in the ninth.
The Diamondbacks were torched for seven runs in the eighth and ninth innings in the Pirates' 8-3 win.
"The seventh inning kind of set the stage," Gibson said. "We had a golden opportunity to score some runs but we didn't score."
The inning saw the Diamondbacks get runners on first and third with no outs, but come up with no runs to keep the score tied at 1.
Later, Delgado plunked McCutchen in the lower back in what many felt was retaliation for Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri hitting Diamondbacks' All-Star Paul Goldschmidt in the left hand with a pitch in the ninth on Friday. Goldschmidt was placed on the disabled list with a broken hand before Saturday's game.
"I didn't agree with the call," Gibson said of Delgado getting ejected. "Guys get hit. It's part of the game. It got away."
"Sure it did," McCutchen said when told what Gibson said, a hint of sarcasm in his tone. "They had all game to retaliate. They had the first inning to retaliate. They had the first pitch (of the ninth inning at-bat) to retaliate. They missed. You throw a slider on the second pitch and then you throw up and in on the next pitch. Are you trying to hurt me too? That's the question."
Delgado looked dejected as he walked off the mound, head down, following his ejection for hitting McCutchen.
"The umpire ejected me, so I just left. I was trying to work my corners and unfortunately the ball moved. I think maybe I didn't have control," he said.
The Pirates broke the game open late, just as they did the previous night. McCutchen drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single in the eighth off third baseman Andy Marte's glove that keyed a four-run inning to make it 5-1.
It was 1-all when Josh Harrison, who had homered earlier, opened the Pittsburgh eighth with an infield hit and Gregory Polanco reached on catcher's interference. McCutchen's sharp ground ball glanced off Marte's glove and into left field, breaking the tie.
Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler's throwing error later helped the Pirates break away. Brent Morel, inserted into the game at third base in the sixth inning with Pedro Alvarez struggling through an 0-for-3 night, hit an RBI double in the eighth and a two-run single in the ninth.
"I threw 24 pitches, I think 23 of them, I felt they were pretty good. The last one (to Morel) wasn't," Ziegler said. "I was getting ground balls, just not at guys. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Jared Hughes (6-2) got the win with a scoreless seventh. Ziegler (4-2) took the loss.
Frieri came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth, but there were no further incidents. David Peralta hit a two-run homer off Frieri. Peralta, who went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .319, drove in all of the Diamondbacks' runs with a home run and a single.
Postgame analysis from Jack Magruder of FoxSportsArizona.com:
David Peralta had three more hits, including a ball off the yellow line in deep center field that was a foot short of a home run, before hitting his fourth home run in the ninth inning. He has a franchise-record 60 hits in his first 50 games. Gerardo Parra had 59 hits in his first 60 games in 2009.
2.27 -- ERA of the D-backs' starting pitchers in the last seven games
*Chase Anderson has made four consecutive quality starts after limiting Pittsburgh to one run on five hits in a no-decision. The rookie has given up five runs in his last 25 innings, and his ERA dipped to 3.19 after his work Saturday. "I have earned some things and made some adjustments along the way," Anderson said. He threw 99 pitches, and the D-backs will monitor him closely the rest of the way as he reaches uncharted waters. Anderson has thrown 112 1/3 innings this season, more than in any of his previous five minor league seasons. His previous high was 108 1/3 at two Class A stops in 2010.
*Manager Kirk Gibson's ejection between the second and third innings seemed justifiable. Gibson asked for a review after Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was ruled to have made a diving catch in right-center field for the second out of the second inning, and replays on the video board appeared to show the ball hitting the turf before finding McCutchen's glove. "I thought it was pretty clear," Gibson said.
*Ender Inciarte jammed his right foot into the bag while sliding into third base in the seventh inning. He immediately grabbed his leg but remained in the game. The D-backs have only 12 position players after adding an eighth arm to the bullpen earlier in the week.
*Jordan Pacheco started at first base for the second straight game, and Mark Trumbo could get some work there, too, Gibson said. Trumbo has been taking ground balls at first, and he spent a lot of time there with the Los Angeles Angels before being converted to left field this season.
A day after Paul Goldschmidt suffered a fractured hand when he was hit by a pitch, Andrew McCutchen understood he could be targeted Saturday. He has serious issues with the way it happened, however. He was hit in the ninth inning, on the third pitch from Randall Delgado, who threw a fastball and a slider on the first two pitches before hitting McCutchen in the back. "They had all game to retaliate," McCutchen said. "They had the first inning to retaliate. They had that first pitch (in the ninth) to retaliate. They missed. You throw a slider the second pitch. Then you throw up and in on the third pitch. Are you trying to hurt me, too? That's the question." He went on: "It's water under the bridge. They did what the needed to do. They hit me. We'll move on tomorrow. Just remember I don't forget. I'm ready to go now. I actually should be thanking them, because now I'm ready to go."