PHOENIX -- An unorthodox delayed steal that included an errant throw by Zack Godley (Bull) ignited a four-run third inning in the D-backs' 6-3 loss to the Mariners during Friday night's Players' Weekend opener at Chase Field. It also got the D-backs thinking.Dee Gordon (Varis) doubled in the third and
PHOENIX -- An unorthodox delayed steal that included an errant throw by Zack Godley (Bull) ignited a four-run third inning in the D-backs' 6-3 loss to the Mariners during Friday night's Players' Weekend opener at Chase Field. It also got the D-backs thinking.
Dee Gordon (Varis) doubled in the third and with one out, took off for third base after catcher Alex Avila (Parkman) returned the ball to Godley following his first pitch to Mitch Haniger (Meetch). Godley's throw toward third was high and wide, and Gordon scored easily.
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Four hits and a sacrifice fly by the next five batters, and the Mariners had a 4-0 lead, and it was enough of a cushion to survive two of their own throwing errors and another two-hit game by Nick Ahmed (Slick Nick) to break the Arizona's' three-game winning streak.
The D-backs retained their one-game lead in the National League West when Colorado lost to St. Louis.
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Godley had a throwing issue to the bases in a game against Colorado a month ago, making an errant throw to first base on a comebacker and failing to attempt to pick off another runner.
"I think Dee Gordon did a god job of studying and paying attention to perhaps something that he thought was a limitation," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "Maybe there was a loss of focus and concentration after that by Zack, because I felt like outside of that inning, he was very effective.
"These are a couple of situations that have popped up on him. What happens now, this is a smart league. Teams are going to start to lock in on what happened in Arizona here tonight and perhaps take another poke at it. We have to figure out a way to make that not happen.
"There are a lot of things we can do to help. If it is a limitation, and it is certainly pointing in that direction, or it could be, we can't ignore it. We are going to figure out the best solution."
Lovullo had discussions with Jonathan Lester when the two were in Boston about his well-documented throwing issues, but Lovullo said he believed the situations are dissimilar.
"From my experience with Jonny and where Zack is, I don't think they are overlapping," Lovullo said. "I know that his situation is well-documented and he is trying to figure out how to work through that. I don't know if Zack is at that point right now."
Godley said it was unfair to point to the Gordon stolen base as the pivotal play.
"That is one play and one run," he said. "What matters is what happened after that. Made good pitches and they put good swings on the ball. I did what I wanted. I made pitches where I wanted to get ground balls. They just put them in places that got hits. I felt like I threw the ball well except for that one inning."
Godley had won eight of his previous nine decisions in a span of 14 starts and had lost only once since June 4.
A delayed steal, especially to third, is very rare.
"That surprises everybody in the entire stadium," Godley said. "It caught everybody off guard. It caught me off guard. It's one of those things that all you can do is try to get the next guy out."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Center fielder A.J. Pollock made a long run to his right to take an extra-base hit away from Mariners' third baseman Kyle Seager as the first batter in the top of the sixth inning.
He went 85 feet in 4.8 seconds, according to Statcast™, to catch the ball with a lunge.
HE SAID IT
"It all comes down to whether you execute. He executed tonight and we didn't." -- D-backs center fielder A.J. Pollock (Pollo), after Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (Mito) struck out six in six innings for his first victory of the season
Because of a recent spate of off-days, left-hander Robbie Ray will face the Mariners on seven days of rest. He threw six scoreless innings in his first game back after missing two months with a strained oblique, but is 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in his nine starts since then. First pitch at Chase Field is set for 5:10 p.m. MST.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.