D-backs can't capitalize on opportunities in loss

June 29th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- If anything distinguishes the D-backs, it’s their knack for feeling at home offensively while they’re on the road. They entered Friday with a Major League-high 255 runs on the road to go with a .271 batting average away from Chase Field, second best in the big leagues.

This ability can’t always be summoned, however. After all, the road is the road, where everything’s a little more unsure. And on Friday night against the Giants, the D-backs repeatedly generated scoring opportunities yet capitalized on few of them in a 6-3 loss.

The decision ended Arizona’s five-game winning streak at Oracle Park. During that stretch, the D-backs outscored the Giants, 41-10. Friday’s trio of runs came on RBI singles by Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed and Jarrod Dyson.

Hints that Arizona would not sustain its road dominance were evident. The D-backs stranded runners in scoring position in four of the first six innings, and they finished 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

“We couldn’t get that big hit. That was the theme,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

By contrast, the Giants looked lively at the plate. Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford each collected three hits while Alex Dickerson hit a solo home run. D-backs starter Merrill Kelly performed adequately, allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings, but he expected more from himself.

“I just wasn’t very sharp,” Kelly said. “I didn’t really feel like I had my best stuff. And when you don’t have your best stuff, you can’t afford to miss over the plate and up, which I did a couple of times. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t ideal. I wasn’t able to drop the curveball in for strikes. My changeup was kind of loose, I think is the word, and same thing with the cutter. I wasn’t getting on it like I should.”

Kelly's immediate successor, T.J. McFarland, gave up three runs on four hits while issuing a pair of walks in 1 2/3 innings. Dickerson’s seventh-inning RBI single hastened McFarland’s downfall.

Dickerson, who made his Giants debut at Arizona on July 21, is batting .538 (7-for-13) with two home runs and 11 RBIs in five games against the D-backs.

"I think he has done a good job of not missing his pitches,” Kelly said. “The changeup that he hit out for the grand slam at our place was in the zone, and he didn't miss it. The fastball today was in the zone, and he didn't miss it."

Though Kelly (7-8) took the loss, the 30-year-old remained one of Arizona’s first-half success stories.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with where he is,” Lovullo said. “I consider him a rookie. This is the first time that he’s pitched in the big leagues, even though he’s been on a big stage overseas. Coming to his hometown and winning seven games has been tremendous. I think he’s learned and grown start by start. He’s the guy that we’re looking for to go out every fifth day and do what he’s been doing.”