Heart of D-backs' lineup blanked by Bucs
Trumbo, Goldschmidt combine for two hits in three games
PHOENIX -- It was a frustrating weekend for the heavy hitters in the D-backs' lineup. The Pirates swept them in a three-game series at Chase Field and Arizona was able to score only two runs.
The top five hitters didn't drive in one of them. Paul Goldschmidt went 1-for-9 with three walks and a single. Mark Trumbo was 1-for-8 with a double and a walk. Yasmany Tomas is still looking for his first extra-base hit and RBI in the Major Leagues.
"What do you think? Of course it is," Trumbo said. "It's just stating the obvious beyond the fact that we lost three in a row. You want to be [ticked] off and I think we are [ticked] off. What's the most productive way to handle it? Come back tomorrow and be ready to go.
"Look at the big picture. We've done a lot of good things this year. Let's get back to what we do well."
The 162-game regular season has all those kinds of twists and turns. A week ago, the D-backs were on their way home from San Francisco, having taken three of four from the then-slumping Giants, who picked themselves right back up and swept a three-game home series from the Dodgers.
Meanwhile, the D-backs have lost four out of five on this eight-game homestand and Monday night get their first look at National League West-rival Colorado as the two clubs open a three-game series. The season just rolls on, sometimes collecting momentum one way or another.
"Our first dose of adversity was our first loss," first-year D-backs manager Chip Hale said after the game. "I've told you guys from Day 1 that it's a daily thing. We come back tomorrow and we play a different team. We'll study [the Rockies] and see what we think and how we're going to go about it, but you can't get caught up in streaks. It's a one-game thing for us.
"We lost today and if you want to look at it that way, it's tough to look at because you want to get at least one of these games at home, in your own house. We'll move on and I think we'll play better."
But the Pirates and manager Clint Hurdle found the prescription for how to stop the now 8-10 D-backs: Pitch around Goldschmidt, by far the most multifaceted offensive player on the team, and basically keep the hitters above the No. 3 slot in the lineup off base.
To be sure, the Pirates received great performances from three premium starters -- Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano, who limited the D-backs to just two singles on Sunday, although he walked six in 6 1/3 innings. The D-backs wound up with three hits in all.
The top two D-backs hitters were on base 10 times in three games, but at no time were Goldschmidt or Trumbo able to knock anyone in.
"Goldschmidt did get some walks, but he wasn't to going beat us," said Hurdle, when asked about his strategy against the heart of the D-backs' lineup. "After that, we were able to make pitches. You keep people off base in front of them, we're able to attack the entire lineup -- especially after those big hitters. Everything starts with the mound work, those guys got busy with it and made pitches. They worked efficiently, threw strikes and got us on and off the field."
Well, Liriano didn't exactly throw strikes until he had to. The nexus of Sunday's game for the D-backs probably was the first inning. After Goldschmidt and Trumbo walked with two out, Tomas looked lost striking out swinging on a bevy of breaking pitches. The Pirates piled up a 4-0 lead, knocking out D-backs starter Jeremy Hellickson in the fifth inning, and pranced on from there.
"We ran into a pretty good team," said Trumbo about a Pirates club that has qualified for the postseason the last two seasons. "They are a good, quality team. Let's tip our cap this time and maybe next time we'll give them a better fight."