Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Ryan Buchter wipes sweat from his face after giving up a two-run home run to San Francisco Giants’ Austin Slater during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen couldn’t hold on to a tight lead after a short outing by starting pitching on a soggy Saturday night at Chase Field and dropped game three of their four-game series versus the San Francisco Giants 6-5.
The D-backs’ bullpen ERA is the third worst in the majors. They also have the fewest saves of any team.
Nick Ahmed was 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, a walk and two runs scored, and Asdrubal Cabrera was 3-for-5 with three singles, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the effort and the focus,” manager Torey Lovullo said post game.
“We just got clipped. We got clipped in the top of the eighth inning, we made some mistakes on the mound, and we paid for it.”
Jake Faria made his second start for the D-backs since being signed by the team on June 19. Despite getting into some difficult situations with runners on, he limited the damage and showed some signs of promise.
He had another D-backs’ trademark rough start in the first inning though, loading the bases on a pair of singles and a walk with one out.
Then he was able to get two consecutive outs to escape the jam without putting any runs on the board.
After a clean second inning, things unraveled for Faria and the D-backs defense in the third. He walked third baseman Thairo Estrada with one out, who then scored on a two-run homer by Mike Yastrzemski to put the Giants up 2-0.
The inning continued with a single by Alex Dickerson and an RBI triple off the bat of Brandon Crawford that should have been caught in centerfield but was poorly played by both David Peralta and Pavin Smith.
“I think our outfielders made some good breaks on some balls today,” Lovullo said. “One in particular I felt like we made a real good break. We just didn’t close the deal and catch the ball, and if we had done that, I think Jake’s line would have looked a lot different.”
Crawford scored on an RBI single by Donovan Solano that gave San Francisco a four-run lead.
Faria bounced back by posting another clean inning in the fourth before his night was over. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
“He was attacking the zone, I thought there was real good spin with his secondary stuff, and he was competing. And that’s what we ask our guys to do,” Lovullo said on Faria’s outing.
Faria also doubled to leadoff the third inning and scored on an Asdrubal Cabrera single. The hit was the first of his career.
The D-backs answered the Giants big inning with some crooked numbers of their own in the third and fourth, with Ahmed leading the way.
After Faria doubled in the third, Ahmed walked and scored the D-backs other run in the inning on a Christian Walker RBI single.
Then in the fourth, pinch hitter Andrew Young doubled with two outs and was brought home by a line drive home run from Ahmed that just made it over the left field wall to tie the game at four.
“I’m proud of the guys, man,” Ahmed said post game. “We go down, we fight, we comeback, we take the lead, we just couldn’t hold on. We would like to have tacked on a couple of more runs there, but we just didn’t get it done.”
The D-backs scored in their third consecutive inning in the fifth when they went ahead on a Peralta RBI single that scored Cabrera and made it 5-4.
Lovullo tried to leverage his bullpen to get through the short outing by Faria. Joe Mantiply, Humberto Castellanos, and Noe Ramirez were able to get the D-backs to the eighth.
But in the eighth relief pitcher Ryan Buchter struggled with command. With one out, he walked Estrada but was able to pick him off with a great move. He then walked Yastrzemski and gave up a two-run monster home run to Austin Slater that went an estimated 482 feet and put the Giants up for good.
He also walked Crawford for three walks issued in the inning, bringing his total to 13 walks this season in 14.1 innings pitched.
The D-backs were unable to make another comeback at the dish and dropped the game by one run. They are 2-55 when trailing after eight innings and are 2-20 in games decided by one run.
Lovullo addressed his frustrations with the bullpen and said it really comes down to consistency.
“We’ve been walking through an assortment of guys and they’ve had opportunities. Some grasp it and don’t completely clutch it and say it’s there’s, and we’re looking for that consistency,” he said.
“We’ve had some injuries, guys got a little banged up and we’re missing a couple key pieces, but once again that’s an opportunity for somebody to step in and say this is my situation and I want it.”
“It’s been frustrating,” he added. “We can only do one thing: keep handing the ball off to different portions of the bullpen and give them the opportunity to get the job done.”
Caleb Smith will get the start for the D-backs in the finale of this four-game series on Independence Day. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Smith is 2-4 this season with a 3.08 ERA for the season but he has been stingy as of late, posting a 1.59 ERA in his last three starts. Despite his recent success, he is seeking his first win since April 29.