Buchholz shines, bats silenced by Mengden
OAKLAND -- Less than 24 hours after seemingly breaking out of their offensive malaise, the D-backs once again struggled to score runs in a 3-0 loss to the A's on Saturday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.
Friday night, the D-backs banged out 12 hits and scored seven times as they snapped a seven-game losing streak. It was just the second time in May that they scored more than four runs.
There was talk in the clubhouse postgame about breaking through and about how the bats might finally be heating up again.
Then A's right-hander Daniel Mengden took the mound and was simply brilliant.
Mengden held the D-backs to just two hits while tossing his second career complete-game shutout.
"Against me, he didn't really make any mistakes," D-backs infielder Daniel Descalso said. "I feel like he made all his pitches down in the zone. He didn't leave anything up for me to drive, he was working ahead, it seemed like he was a strike-thrower, he doesn't walk a lot of guys and he was getting early outs. I don't think we were necessarily chasing out of the zone, but I think he was making good pitches. He really wasn't missing much in my opinion."
And what about the good feelings from Friday night?
"I think last night was a nice night for us," Descalso said. "We were hoping to build off of that, but I think today you just have to tip your hat to that guy over there. He did a really good job, so try to forget about this one and move on to tomorrow. We still have a chance to win the series. We haven't put ourselves in that spot in a little while, so if we can come out of here with a series win tomorrow, that would be a nice thing to build on going into the homestand."
The lack of offense spoiled a solid outing by veteran Clay Buchholz (0-1). The right-hander allowed just one run -- a homer by Matt Joyce to lead off the first -- over six innings of work.
It was the second straight good outing for Buchholz, who in his previous start allowed just one run over five innings.
Buchholz began the year in Triple-A with the Royals before exercising an opt-out in his contract and signing a Minor League deal with the D-backs on May 5.
"I felt better today," Buchholz said. "Just being in a five-day routine and being with a club; the first outing, I showed up the day before and I started. Getting to know the guys. Obviously, I've seen a lot of them play. That's why it was fun for me to be involved in this opportunity."
The D-backs gave Kris Medlen and Troy Scribner one start each in an audition to fill in for the injured Robbie Ray, and neither pitched well. In Buchholz, however, the D-backs have seemingly found their answer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First-pitch blues: If there was one pitch that Buchholz could take back, it would be the first one he threw. It was a fastball that Joyce jumped on and hit over the wall in right to give Oakland a lead.
"The first pitch of the game, I was trying to throw a strike," Buchholz said. "I've faced him a lot throughout my career. He's a good hitter. If he gets a pitch up in the zone and barrels it, that's what happens. That one happened to miss middle and he barreled it up."
Rare opportunity: With Mengden dealing, the D-backs did not have many chances to score runs. Their best came in the third when Nick Ahmed reached to start the inning on a dropped fly ball by center fielder Dustin Fowler. Jarrod Dyson sacrificed Ahmed to second, but David Peralta grounded out and Paul Goldschmidt struck out to end the frame.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes, he was mixing his pitches, changing speeds," D-backs catcher Alex Avila said of Mengden. "I thought overall we had some good at-bats, some good swings off him. We kind of hit the ball all over the field. Just right at guys and they made some plays, as well."
In an attempt to shake up his slumbering lineup, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo put Goldschmidt in the No. 2 spot in the batting order. It was the first time Goldschmidt had started a game in the second hole, and the first time since 2013 that he had started a game hitting somewhere other than third or fourth. The move did not pay dividends, as Goldschmidt went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
The D-backs wrap up the three-game series with the A's, and a nine-game road trip, on Sunday afternoon with Zack Greinke on the mound for a 1:05 p.m. MST start against Frankie Montas. Greinke took the loss in his last outing when he allowed four runs -- all of which came via three home runs -- over six innings against the Brewers at Miller Park. Greinke is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in nine games (six starts) at the Oakland Coliseum.