PHOENIX -- Sometimes baseball is not so much a game of inches as it is fractions of inches.Reds outfielder Adam Duvall just barely foul-tipped a Patrick Corbin slider with two strikes and the bases loaded, but when the D-backs lefty came back with another slider, Duvall smacked it for a
PHOENIX -- Sometimes baseball is not so much a game of inches as it is fractions of inches.
Reds outfielder Adam Duvall just barely foul-tipped a Patrick Corbin slider with two strikes and the bases loaded, but when the D-backs lefty came back with another slider, Duvall smacked it for a fourth-inning grand slam in what would turn into a 7-4 Arizona loss on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.
It's no secret that the slider is Corbin's out pitch, so after getting a swinging strike on a slider to make the count 1-2, he threw Duvall another one, which the right-handed hitter just ticked at the plate.
Still, Corbin came back with one more slider, and this one Duvall didn't miss. Instead he crushed it for a grand slam that tied the game at 4-4.
"I know he hits sliders really well in the zone, and I got him in his first at-bat with a slider and was trying to do the same thing and just left that one up," Corbin said. "He hits those pitches really well."
"He kept coming with the slider," Duvall said. "I think that's his best pitch and it's a good pitch. I fouled it off and got to the next pitch and I was telling myself, 'Just see it.' It ended up being down in the zone for a strike. It was up just enough to get the barrel to it."
It was a quick turn of events.
"I was telling somebody that at-bat went from real bad to real good real quick," Duvall said. "I took a first-pitch strike right down the middle, first-pitch fastball that I thought was a slider, then the next pitch or the pitch after that, I swung at one kind of in the dirt. It was good to see one up and get the barrel to it."
Meanwhile, in the D-backs' dugout, manager Torey Lovullo was feeling that good about his team's 4-0 lead -- Arizona scored three in the first, highlighted by Paul Goldschmidt's two-run homer -- when Duvall stepped to the plate, because to that point in the game despite the two hits and a walk in the frame, Corbin seemed to be in command.
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"With a four-run lead you feel like if they scratch one or two you're still in control of the game," Lovullo said. "But it was the one thing that really impacted the game, and you've got to give Duvall credit. He hit a mistake breaking ball over the plate."
That blow only tied the game. It was Scott Schebler's two-run homer in the sixth on another slider that proved to be the back-breaker.
"I got that one pretty good," Schebler said of the 433-foot shot. "He threw me about eight straight sliders. I just finally got one up. He's got a good one, so I was kind of sitting on it after he threw me that many. It seemed like he was going to keep coming with it until I proved I could hit it."
Corbin (5-2) has lost his past two starts at home.
MORE TIME FOR MURPH
John Ryan Murphy continues to take advantage of his increased playing time behind the plate. With his other catchers, Alex Avila and Jeff Mathis, not producing much at the plate, Lovullo has turned more often to Murphy, who hit cleanup Wednesday.
Murphy went 3-for-4 with a double and a homer.
"With opportunity comes the chance to show you what you can do," Murphy said. "I've gotten more opportunity lately and it comes with getting more at-bats and feeling more comfortable."
Murphy has hit seven homers on the year, five of which have come this month, which is a club record for a catcher in the month of May.
HE SAID IT
"Just better at-bats, better swings, more hits, consistency." -- Goldschmidt, on the improved offense during the Reds series
The D-backs take Thursday off before opening a three-game series with the Marlins on Friday. Veteran Clay Buchholz will make his home debut at Chase Field in his third start in place of the injured Robbie Ray. The right-hander has allowed one run in each of his first two starts for the Arizona after being signed to a Minor League deal earlier in May. Buchholz, who is still looking for his first win, lasted five innings against the Mets on May 20 and went six innings against the A's last Saturday. Rookie right-hander Elieser Hernandez is scheduled to start for Miami.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.