Held to 2 hits, D-backs missteps magnified in loss to Yankees
PHOENIX -- On a night the Diamondbacks went 23 batters between their two hits yet still were within a run in the ninth inning, the missteps that led to Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Yankees were easy to pinpoint.
Shelby Miller gave up a two-run home run two batters into the game.
After Miller righted the ship and pitched into the sixth, manager Chip Hale left in right-hander in the game one batter too long.
Already tasked with scoring once against flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, reliever Evan Marshall make the job twice as hard when he unloaded a run-scoring wild pitch in the top of the ninth.
It was the second slip up that Hale was questioned most about after his team failed to complete the three-game sweep.With Nathan Eovaldi showing no signs of weakness and the Yankees three-headed monster in the bullpen looming, Hale went to the mound with two outs and a runner on second in the sixth. Lefty Andrew Chafin was ready in the bullpen. But after a brief discussion, Hale went back to the dugout and Miller readied to face Ellsbury.
Already 5 for 5 in his career against Miller, Ellsbury singled sharply on the second pitch of the at-bat to bring around Chase Headley for a 3-1 advantage. Hale then had seen enough and brought in Chafin.
"He's one of our horses; he's our No. 2 guy. For me, he'd earned it; it was his game at that point," Hale said. "We had a clear plan on how to get him out, (Miller) just didn't execute. But I'd do it again."
Chafin wasn't going to face Ellsbury, who is hitting .295 against lefties this season. The plan was for Miller attacked Ellsbury with sinkers down and away. If he fell behind, the D-backs would issue a walk and Chafin would face Gardner, who was hitting .197 against lefties.
Miller said he thought he was done when Hale emerged from the dugout. But he got ahead before Ellsbury slapped a single between shortstop Nick Ahmed and third baseman Jake Lamb.
"I threw him a fastball away, the ball was away and he hit a ball through the six hole," Miller said plainly.
While Hale said he would make the same decisions again, it doesn't mean he won't second-guess himself.
"Of course I do," he said. "Those are the reasons managers don't sleep. ... All the decisions that go into a game when you lose, those are the reasons you don't sleep. I feel good about it. But when it doesn't work, that's why I'm losing my hair and going gray."
Eovaldi may also have something to do with that. The Yankees right-hander set down 18 straight D-backs after Jean Segura's leadoff double in the first that ricocheted off second base.
"I think we all had a good approach going into the game. We knew what we were looking for, he just made good pitches," Drury said. "He was throwing 98 mph and sliders and splitfingers in hitter's counts. He did a good job mixing it up. That's the way the game goes sometimes.
"We were one hit away from tying it up or getting the lead, but we didn't get that."
The D-backs immediately fared better when Eovaldi was lifted after six innings and just 85 pitches. Dellin Betances walked Phil Gosselin and Paul Goldschmidt to start the seventh but wrapped strikeouts of Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury around a weak fly out from Welington Castillo.
Chris Owings homered off Andrew Miller to lead off the eighth and pull the D-backs within 3-2, but Marshall gave the run back and Chapman, throwing has hard as 102 mph, closed the door in the ninth.
"Once you get to those last three it's tough. But we had our shot against Betances," Hale said. "If you give up three runs, you're giving us a chance to win in this ballpark. We were just beat by a really good pitcher and relievers. They did a nice job."