Plain and simple, Chase Anderson was good tonight, much like Nuno last night. But the combination of poor hitting and awful pitching late in the ball game once again hurt the Diamondbacks in Saturday's contest.
You aren't going to win too many games when your offense can't convert with runners in scoring position and your bullpen gives up seven runs in the final two innings. Up until the David Peralta home run in the bottom of the ninth, the D-backs were 1-for-9 with RISP; and they left 11 runners on in the ball game.
Chase Anderson looked a little rough in the first inning as far as command goes, but managed to escape unscathed despite a Josh Harrison lead off double and a walk to Mr. Steal-yo-MVP-trophy-McCutchen.
Two diving stops in a row from the Pirates' outfield thwarted the D-backs attempt to get on the board first. Though, the McCutchen catch looked as though it may have hit the ground. Arizona actually challenged the play but the umpires upheld the call. In the middle of the inning, Kirk Gibson was tossed for apparently jawing too much at the crew.
In the top of the third, Josh Harrison took an inside fastball and parked it over the bullpen in left to give Pittsburgh the early lead. He must think the ball looks like a basketball at this point because he’s having no trouble against the D-backs pitchers, well besides his first four at-bats in this series.
Arizona threatened in the bottom of the fourth with two outs thanks to a throwing error by Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Although a bloop single to right from Andy Marte advanced Didi Gregorious to third, Chase Anderson wasn’t able to do anything to help himself out and the D-backs were turned away.
While it may not have seemed as if the D-backs benefitted from that Alvarez error in the fourth, it helped them out for the fifth. That error combined with the Marte hit, "allowed" Anderson to make the final out of the inning and bring up the top of the order for the fifth. Ender Inciarte led the inning off with a hit and he was moved to second on an Aaron Hill groundout. Peralta then drove a single to right to score Inciarte from second and tie the game up at one.
With the top of the order back up in the seventh, the D-backs were once again in business, this time going up against the bullpen of Pittsburgh. Inciarte walked to start it off. Hill then singled to left, and Inciarte advanced to third on the play because he was running on the pitch. The situation was set, runners at second and third with no one out – almost a damn guaranteed run. NOPE. Somehow, not one of the next four hitters – excluding Miggy who was intentionally walked – could record a quality out to score Inciarte from third. That would prove to be the turning point in the game.
Harrison reached safely on an infield hit to begin the eighth off Brad Ziegler. In the ensuing at bat, Ziegler induced Polanco into a groundout but the play was nullified due to catcher’s interference. That meant runners on first and second for Andrew McCutchen, who delivered a weak "single" which could’ve easily been called an error on Marte at third. Regardless, one run scored on the play to give the Buckos the lead. Because I’m too lazy to write out the details of what happened after that, I’ll give the short version: The Pirates went on to add three more runs in the inning to make the score 5-1 heading into the ninth.
After a one-two-three inning for the D-backs, the Pirates picked up where they left off and went on to score three more runs to extend their lead to seven. David Peralta stayed hot with a home run in the ninth for his second and third RBIs of the game, but villain Ernesto Frieri eventually closed the game out.
For what it's worth, whether you think it's right or not, Arizona got "retaliation" in the inning when Randall Delgado plunked McCutchen square in the back. That should be the extent of it. Trevor Cahill toes the rubber against Francisco Liriano tomorrow.
GDT: Congrats to preston.salisbury.