Brewers 3, Diamondbacks 2
PHOENIX, June 23 — Brandon Woodruff struck out nine and walked two in seven innings while allowing one run on three hits as the Milwaukee Brewers downed the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3–2, Wednesday afternoon. Woodruff also drove in a run with a single in the fifth.
Both teams were hitless until the fourth. Tyrone Taylor broke through for the Brewers, slapping a leadoff single against Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith. After Avisail Garcia walked, three air outs kept both runners from scoring. The Diamondbacks notched their first hit on a leadoff single by shortstop Josh Rojas, one that tipped off the glove of a diving Keston Hiura at second base. A one-out walk by Josh VanMeter advanced Rojas to second, and a two-out walk by Asdrubal Cabrera loaded the bases for first baseman Christian Walker. A grounder to short ended the inning with the runners stranded.
Brewers Take Lead over Diamondbacks
The Brewers plated their first run in the fifth. Jace Peterson led off with a double and advanced to third on a pickoff attempt as Woodruff was setting up to bunt. Smith’s throw went into center field, where it was backed up, but Rojas hauled Peterson to the ground as the ball sailed past him. The resultant obstruction call put Peterson on third. Two pitches later, Woodruff brought Peterson home with a single to left.
After Kolten Wong fanned for the first out, Luis Urias reached on a fielding error by Walker. Tyrone Taylor followed with a fly to the second baseman in shallow right, prompting an out due to the infield fly rule. When the ball fell untouched, it brought some anger from Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who did not feel the rule should apply on a missed fly ball. An intentional walk to Garcia restored a force at any base for Adames, who grounded into a 6–4 force play to end the frame.
After all that silliness, the Brewers, somehow, only led by one run. They extended the lead, however, in the seventh after three straight singles off new pitcher Noe Ramirez to open the inning. The third brought in Urias to make it 2–0. After a fly to right put runners on the corners with one out, struggling southpaw reliever Joe Mantiply took the hill. A sacrifice fly from the first hitter he faced — center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. — made the score 3–0. During the next at-bat, an overeager Garcia — the runner on first — got into a pickoff-caught stealing scenario to end the frame.
Diamondbacks Narrow Lead but Fall Short
The Diamondbacks grabbed a run in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run by Walker. They added another when Eduardo Escobar led off the bottom of the eighth with a pinch-hit home run — the first of that type in his career. No more runs scored in that inning, bringing in Josh Hader to pitch the ninth for the first time all series. The all-but-automatic Hader pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out the first two hitters in the process. His 19th save of the season gave the Diamondbacks their 42nd loss in 48 games.
Caleb Smith “threw the ball extremely well and is continuing to throw the ball extremely well,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “You hold a team to one run over six innings, you’re expecting to win a baseball game. But unfortunately, he had someone on the other side matching his zeroes.” Since rejoining the rotation, Smith has given “consistency.” He has given “the ability to command pitches (and) get a lot of swing and miss. He has good stuff. Really good stuff. When he’s locating the way he is, he can get going with some quick innings and pitch deep into some games.”
Smith felt he “threw pretty well, for the most part. My fastball command was a little shaky at the beginning of the start, but (catcher Stephen Vogt) helped get me through it. He did a great job back there, called a great game. But overall, I think I threw the ball pretty well with the exception of a couple of pitches.” He credited Vogt with quickly noticing that the fastball command was off. To counter, Vogt had Smith go to his offspeed early, something that Smith consistently threw for strikes.
Holding Guys Accountable
After the fifth inning, David Peralta laid into several of his teammates in the dugout, presumably about the defensive lapses. Lovullo appeared to be okay with it. “We all bark and have certain expectations. When things don’t go right, ‘from one player to another’ is very powerful. If he was posturing people, I fully support it. I trust David. I’ve asked him to be that kind of a leader — if he sees something he doesn’t like, come in and make sure that everybody knows how he feels about particular plays.”
“Look, we were sloppy in a couple of areas today. We’ve got to be better than that. We’re having conversations right now — going to talk to these players about what it means to play Arizona Diamondbacks baseball. We’ll get there. I’m not looking for fistfights in the dugout — by no means. But I feel like, if one player can straighten up another, then I’ll allow that to happen, but it’s gotta be done in the right way and in the right taste…. It’s holding guys accountable.”
The reeling Diamondbacks (21–55), after an off-day Thursday, head to San Diego for a three-game weekend series against the Padres (44–32). Corbin Martin, Merrill Kelly, and Zac Gallen will start on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, respectively.
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Brandon Woodruff, Tyrone Taylor, Caleb Smith, Avisail Garcia, Josh Rojas, Keston Hiura, Josh VanMeter, Asdrubal Cabrera, Christian Walker, Jace Peterson, Kolten Wong, Luis Urias, Craig Counsell, Noe Ramirez, Joe Mantiply, Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Escobar, Josh Hader, Torey Lovullo, Stephen Vogt, David Peralta, Corbin Martin, Merrill Kelly, Zac Gallen