CINCINNATI -- Clay Buchholz pitched well again for the D-backs on Friday, but he stumbled in the later innings as Arizona fell, 3-0, to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. The D-backs remained in a tie for first place in the National League West with the Dodgers, who lost
CINCINNATI -- Clay Buchholz pitched well again for the D-backs on Friday, but he stumbled in the later innings as Arizona fell, 3-0, to the Reds at Great American Ball Park. The D-backs remained in a tie for first place in the National League West with the Dodgers, who lost in Colorado on Friday.
Buchholz scattered eight hits and surrendered three runs (one unearned) with two walks and four strikeouts. He faced the minimum the first time through the lineup and posted five scoreless innings to begin the game, but he did not benefit from any run support.
"It is part of the game," Buchholz said. "Every starter is trying to go out there and minimize damage when you have to, and when you are fortunate enough to not give up any runs, it is a good day."
His counterpart -- Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani -- matched him pitch for pitch, stifling the Arizona offense with seven shutout innings of his own. The D-backs managed just two hits off DeSclafani until Steven Souza Jr.'s leadoff single in the eighth ousted him from the game.
"He threw well," Paul Goldschmidt said. "He mixed up his pitches and threw a lot of strikes. He didn't have any walks. His command was good and did a good job of working quick, throwing strikes and getting us out."
DeSclafani mixed his fastball in with his slider well and located his fastball on both sides of the plate. He struck out nine, did not issue a walk and kept the D-backs off-balance all game.
"He had some good run on his heater and threw it on both sides of the plate," Souza said. "He jammed some guys and with two strikes brought the sinker back. He kept his slider down all game and kept us off-balance. When you have a guy with a good arm like that and [he] is locating, it is going to be a long day."
The sixth inning is where Buchholz began to fade. Jose Peraza and Joey Votto led off the inning with a pair of singles to put men at the corners. Eugenio Suarez's sac fly to left broke the scoreless tie. Cincinnati added two more in the seventh inning, in part due to a throwing error by Buchholz on a Billy Hamilton squeeze bunt that brought two runs home and extended the Reds' lead to 3-0.
Buchholz has been a valuable asset for the D-backs since joining the club on May 20 after being signed on May 4. He has a 5-2 record and has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his 11 starts, with a 2.67 ERA overall. The loss was his first since May 26, snapping a string of wins in four consecutive outings.
Arizona's best opportunity to plate a run came shortly after DeSclafani's exit in the eighth. Nick Ahmed singled off Jared Hughes to put runners at first and third for Alex Avila, who grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
"If we score five or six runs, we are talking about Clay Buchholz's outing, which was outstanding," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "The three runs he gave up were tough. I think they took advantage of some key situations and got the line moving the right way. He did a good job of keeping everything in check. We just couldn't get going offensively."
The D-backs finished with just five hits on the night. It has been feast or famine for the Arizona offense so far in the month of August. The D-backs are 4-4 in eight games and have scored 24 runs in the four wins, compared to just five runs in the four losses.
"Baseball is a hard game," Lovullo said. "It is hard to line it up and be consistent every day. We have consistent players that sometimes don't get the job done. That is just the nature of the game. That is what makes it so beautiful. Tomorrow is another day. I know these guys will digest it, spit it out and get ready."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Buchholz's throwing error proves costly: Buchholz again ran into trouble in the seventh inning when he allowed a pair of baserunners for the second consecutive frame. Tucker Barnhart hit a one-out double and DeSclafani followed with a soft base hit to right field to put men at the corners. Hamilton got ahead 3-1 in the count and laid a well-placed suicide squeeze bunt down the first-base line that Buchholz barehanded and threw wide of first base. It allowed a second run to score on the play, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead in what would be Buchholz's final inning.
"I was expecting it more at 2-1 rather than 3-1, but that is part of his game. He can do that at any time," Buchholz said of Hamilton. "I thought Goldschmidt stayed on the bag and when I picked it up, he usually shifts to foul ground. When I went to throw, I didn't see anyone in the foul ground and I was already in the throwing motion and it went up the line. It caught me a little off-balance in a 3-1 count there."
Lovullo thought Buchholz should have held the ball and conceded the one run. Lovullo noted they discussed Hamilton laying down a bunt in that situation when he visited the mound before the at-bat.
"I think Clay was trying to make a great play," Lovullo said. "I think if he rehearsed or went over it, he would have told himself that too. I think he is going to think about it next time and try to make the better play."
Robbie Ray (3-2, 4.92 ERA) will take the mound for the D-backs in the second game of the series with the Reds at Great American Ball Park on Saturday. The left-hander went 5 1/3 innings last time out against the Giants and gave up two runs on seven hits, with eight strikeouts and four walks. Ray has gone at least five innings in seven of his eight starts since returning from the DL on June 27, but he is searching for his first win since then. Matt Harvey (5-7, 5.37 ERA) will start for Cincinnati. First pitch is at 3:40 p.m. MST.
Brian Scott Rippee is a reporter for MLB.com.