Tough luck, shaky defense cost Gallardo in loss
PHOENIX -- Twenty-four hours before he was scheduled to take the mound at Chase Field on Wednesday in his much-anticipated return to a National League stadium, Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo stood in front of his locker and answered questions about getting back in the batter's box. No, Gallardo wasn't going to swing for the fences. Yes, he misses hitting. Maybe, he is a little bit rusty.
A day later, not long after the Rangers' 8-5 loss to the D-backs, Gallardo was perched in front of his locker once again, but the focus had shifted to a more familiar theme: pitching and defense.
The Rangers split their two-game series against the D-backs and committed five errors during that span. The team has 15 errors this season.
Gallardo pitched five innings on Wednesday. Tuesday's starter Nick Martinez pitched six.
"We are obviously not where we are going to be," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of his defense.
Gallardo is a bit closer to where he needs to be. The right-hander gave up five runs -- three earned -- on six hits for the loss.
"Personally, I think I threw the ball well. I just had a little bit of bad luck," Gallardo said. "That first inning I gave up those two choppers in front of home plate, and there's not much you can do about that. You just keep pounding the strike zone."
Gallardo gave up a single to Ender Inciarte to start the game, and A.J. Pollock followed with a sharp ground ball that third baseman Adrian Beltre fielded and threw away. Inciarte scored on the error, and Pollock ended up at third. Pollock scored on a single by Mark Trumbo, and just like that, the Rangers trailed, 2-1, four batters into the bottom of the first inning.
Inciarte reached on an error on a tough play by Prince Fielder to start the third inning and later scored on a ground ball by Trumbo to extend Arizona's lead to 3-1.
The lone mistake in the fourth inning was an 89 mph four-seamer from Gallardo that Chris Owings crushed for a solo home run. Gallardo's two-out walk to Paul Goldschmidt also came back to haunt him, when Trumbo singled Goldschmidt home on a fly ball that Leonys Martin couldn't quite get to.
The Rangers were charged with their third error of the game, this time in the eighth inning when reliever Logan Verrett didn't cover first base on a ground ball to Fielder. It was Fielder who was charged with the error.
"We do need to be better, they know that," Banister said. "They know that they need to handle the baseball and make plays."
Gallardo did do his part on offense. His single in the fifth inning broke up the no-hitter by D-backs starter Archie Bradley. The Rangers also rallied for four runs in the ninth inning.
"It's tough because you always want to get in a good rhythm and win a couple of games in a row," Gallardo said. "Tonight, we were down seven runs, and the guys kept fighting, the guys kept battling back until the last out was recorded. It shows the work ethic that's in this clubhouse and the talent."