D-backs limited by Latos in series-ending loss
Arizona batters strike out 13 times against Cincinnati starter
PHOENIX -- The D-backs struck out 13 times over 7 2/3 innings Sunday afternoon against Reds starter Mat Latos, but as has happened so often in 2013, they made things interesting in their final at-bat, putting the tying run on base in a game that was fairly one-sided up to that point.
An extra-base hit away from a second consecutive ninth-inning rally, Willie Bloomquist flied out as the Reds narrowly held on for a 4-2 victory at Chase Field on Sunday. But even though the comeback attempt fell short this time around, it did not stop the team from taking away certain positives.
"We hung in there," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've been really good at that; we understand that we have the ability to come back. That's a good characteristic to have, and it'll take you a long way. You're not going to win them all, and we didn't really do anything wrong today; sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other side."
Arizona still finished its six-game homestand against Miami and Cincinnati 4-2 and maintained a three-game lead in the National League West thanks to losses by the Padres and the Giants.
For much of the afternoon, the D-backs appeared as if they would be shut out for the first time in 75 games this season. But when Miguel Montero delivered a two-out RBI single in the eighth off Latos, the club maintained its distinction as the only team in the Majors not to be held scoreless this year. Every other club has been blanked at least three times.
Cliff Pennington and Wil Nieves each recorded two-out singles in the ninth off Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, who blew the save Saturday night. But after Gerardo Parra was hit by a pitch, Bloomquist recorded the final out of the game.
"The guys played hard all 27 outs no matter what the score is," Paul Goldschmidt said. "That's one of our strengths; we don't give away at-bats. We kept playing hard and gave ourselves a chance."
Arizona certainly had its chances to get on the board off Latos early Sunday. The club put its first two batters on base twice but failed to score each time. In the first inning, Goldschmidt flied out with two on, then Montero grounded into an inning-ending double play. Then in the fifth, Arizona had runners on the corners with one out, but Eric Hinske and Parra struck out to end the threat.
"He was really good," Goldschmidt said of Latos. "He went right after us; he didn't miss much. We tried to be aggressive, but he got the ball down. When he got ahead, he had great putout pitches. We just weren't able to get anything going."
Latos ended up working 7 2/3 innings, giving up one run on six hits while tying his career high in punchouts with 13.
"We just got beat by a really good pitcher," Gibson said. "Not too many guys score against that guy."
By holding the Marlins to two runs over seven innings in his first start for the D-backs on Tuesday, Randall Delgado earned a second start Sunday against the high-powered Reds' lineup, a big step up in competition that lived up to its billing.
Delgado served up a leadoff homer in the first inning to Shin-Soo Choo, then three batters later Brandon Phillips connected for a two-run blast, putting the right-hander and the D-backs in an early 3-0 hole.
"I had two bad pitches, two mistakes, so after that I just tried to concentrate and keep the game close," Delgado said. "That's what I was trying to focus on. That's important for me to do, because we keep fighting. You can't think about the first inning after it; you have to keep going."
The Reds added another run an inning later, but it was unearned because of a Pennington error at third.
After that, Delgado settled down the rest of the way, tossing three scoreless frames before being pinch-hit for in the fifth. He finished his afternoon surrendering four runs (three earned) on six hits while striking out four.
"Delgado threw the ball pretty good; he was pretty strong," said Gibson, adding that the rookie earned another start Friday vs. Atlanta.