NEW YORK -- Nursing a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo followed the script that has worked so often for him the past couple of months.
But on a windy, rainy Monday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Lovullo’s plan fell apart when Ginkel struggled with his command and gave up three runs as the D-backs endured a stinging 6-4 loss to the Yankees.
The D-backs were originally scheduled to play the White Sox in Chicago on Monday, but when Saturday’s game with the Yankees was postponed due to rain, Major League Baseball adjusted the schedule so that Arizona would stay in New York. The D-backs will make up their originally scheduled Monday game against the White Sox on Thursday, which had been an off-day for both teams.
It's a tough loss for an Arizona team that could have gained a half-game on its idle competitors in the NL Wild Card race.
- Games remaining (6): at CWS (3), vs. HOU (3)
- Standings update: The D-backs (82-74) hold the No. 2 Wild Card spot. They have the same record as the Cubs (82-74), but Arizona owns the tiebreaker. The D-backs lead the Marlins (81-75) by one game and they are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Reds (80-77). Cincinnati and Miami hold the tiebreaker over Arizona.
For the second straight day, the D-backs and Yankees battled the elements just to get the game in.
“We fought hard,” Lovullo said. “We put ourselves in a really good position a couple of times, and then we just couldn't execute on the mound, and that’s what cost us. When you look up there and you give up four runs in the final two innings that you pitch, you’re not going to win a lot of baseball games.”
It sure did seem like the D-backs were going to find a way to pick up the series victory.
Arizona scored a pair of runs in the first on Alek Thomas’ two-run double, and while starter Merrill Kelly had to throw 35 pitches to get through the bottom of the first, he managed to keep the Yankees off the board until the fourth when Austin Wells hit a game-tying two-run homer.
That wound up being all Kelly would allow over his five innings, but he was not pleased with his outing.
“In my mind, I didn't do my job today,” Kelly said. “You guys have heard me talk for long enough now that five [innings], in my mind, is unacceptable. I know I technically gave us a chance to win, but in these types of games -- when the win means so much -- at the end of the day, I've just got to be better.”
The D-backs took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh, but Ryan Thompson -- another reliable reliever of late -- allowed a run in the bottom half of the inning. Arizona again reclaimed a lead in the top of the eighth, when Corbin Carroll delivered a two-out RBI single.
That’s when Lovullo went to Ginkel, who threw 28 pitches in Sunday's 7-1 victory.
“He's been our guy in the eighth inning all the time,” Lovullo said. “He felt good, felt strong. I know it was a lot of pitches [Sunday], but he was available and I wanted to stay with the process.”
Ginkel allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases before getting a strikeout. Just when it looked like he might wiggle off the hook, he issued a bases-loaded walk to Oswald Peraza followed by a go-ahead sacrifice fly off the bat of Estevan Florial.
“I'll take accountability for it,” Ginkel said. “I mean, I was wanting to pitch, there's no question about it. I think I wasn't feeling great, for sure. I mean, I'm going to take the ball every single time. I was definitely sore, but I'm like, you know, I don't care, I want to help and I want to be there for this team. And we'll be fine. It's just one game. We've got a few more games left. So we'll be good.”