Bottom of lineup misses chances for D-backs
Trumbo provides spark but offense squanders opportunities
ST. LOUIS -- The D-backs had their chances against the Cardinals in Monday's series opener, but the offense could not deliver a knockout blow.
St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez was spotting his fastball early, and the D-backs were able to manage just two hits through four innings.
"He's got the definition of power stuff," said D-backs outfielder Mark Trumbo. "He's got a great arm. We were going to try to be as patient as we could, but he proved to be throwing strikes. We had to be a little more aggressive."
The D-backs got the first two runners on in the fifth before Martinez struck out Tuffy Gosewisch, Nick Ahmed and pitcher Chase Anderson in order to end the threat.
The D-backs were able to get the leadoff man on in the sixth, but could not push a run across.
"My focus was on keeping with the game plan," Martinez said. "Don't try and throw too hard. My sinker today was really good, so I tried to stay calm and do what I was doing before to get some strikeouts."
It was particularly a tough day for the bottom of the D-backs' order.
Gosewisch and Ahmed came up with crucial hits in the team's previous series against the Cubs, but on Monday the pair, along with Chris Owings, combined to go 1-for-12 and leave 14 runners on base.
"That's one of those things," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of the bottom of the order. "When they do perform like they did in the last series, we score a lot of runs. It's important. It's a work in progress. Nick and Tuffy and C.O., they've just got to keep battling and keep a positive attitude. We'll get better at it."
The D-backs had a chance to grab a lead in the 10th when they loaded the bases with one out against closer Trevor Rosenthal, who was able to strike out Owings and get Gosewisch to ground out.
"We had opportunities to score there in the last inning and couldn't do it," Hale said. "It's just one of those things you have to learn how to do as a group. Hitters have to be able to put a ball in play with one out and a man on third. It's something we need to just get better at."
Rosenthal and his near-100-mph fastball, though, make putting the ball in play with any kind of authority a difficult task.
"I don't really try to change anything, take off anything or put anything extra on it," Rosenthal said. "We were just trying to make a pitch and know that they were probably swinging early."
The D-backs' lone offense came on Trumbo's two-run homer in the eighth.
"I think we fought really hard against a really good team," Trumbo said. "There's a lot of positives, and I think everyone is actually pumped up about the way we battled."