After facing Kyle Wright and Mike Soroka in Atlanta, things didn’t get any easier for Arizona, the team with the Majors’ longest winning streak. No sooner had they finished off their sixth win than they were headed to Cincinnati. There, they faced off against Trevor Bauer and the Reds. The Diamondbacks turned to Robbie Ray to pitch the series opener.
Robbie Ray did not have a good game. Regardless of the fact that he only allowed two runs through five and two-thirds innings of work, that the left-hander made it into the sixth inning was something of a surprise. He did not have his strikeout stuff working one bit. Ray’s elevated fastball continually rose up out of the zone, His off-speed offerings continually missed inside, or so says Blue. Despite all this, he allowed only three measly singles to the Reds’ lineup. Of course, where he was stingy with the hits, he was generous with the free passes. Ray issued six of those on the evening, while only managing two strikeouts.
Trevor Bauer had a night to forget as well. It is worth wondering if both pitchers weren’t getting squeezed a bit. Neither one of them could buy a called strike on anything off-speed. The result for Ray was allowing all those walks. The result for Bauer was getting chased after five innings, having allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks.
The game can mostly be summed up by the fourth inning alone. After Ketel Marte flew out to left, Eduardo Escobar doubled on a Bauer curve that caught too much plate. Christian Walker then stepped in and was clearly looking dead red when he turned around a Bauer fastball, putting it in the stands 410 feet away in left center. Kole Calhoun came up next and worked the count full before striking out swinging at a Bauer fastball. Stephen Vogt then stepped in and watched two borderline off-speed pitches get called for balls. He too sat on Bauer’s fastball and hit a home run of his own to right. Next up was Nick Ahmed. Like Calhoun before him, he ran the count full before striking out on a Bauer fastball. Of the six strikes to those two batters, five came on the fastball.
The bottom of the inning was equally ugly from a pitching standpoint. Ray walked Nick Senzel on four pitches to start things off. He then got to a full count before Nick Castellanos drew his own walk. This was followed up by a routine 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Eugenio Suarez. That moved Senzel over to third. Then, Josh VanMeter thought he would try his hand at picking on Ahmed which resulted in yet another easy out at first.
That inning embodies the spirit of the entire game. The Diamondbacks scored once again in the fifth on a two-out single by Eduardo Escobar. Then they scored again in the sixth off of doubles by Nick Ahmed and Tim Locastro.
Ray’s high-wire act ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth. After a free pass to Joey Votto, Senzel and Castellanos both singled to load the bases. Suarez then worked a 10-pitch at-bat before flying out to Nick Ahmed in shallow left. Ray just could not put Suarez away, even when he made some nice pitches. Next was VanMeter. Like Suarez, he flew out to left field. But this time, Peralta had to make the play running towards the line, which allowed Votto to tag up and score. That was the end of the day for Ray. The ball was handed off to Alex Young. Freddy Galvis was the first batter he faced. Galvis doubled down into the left field corner. Senzel scored easily on the play. With the bottom of the order coming up, Castellanos was waved around third. Peralta played the carom off the wall perfectly and threw an accurate, one-hop strike home to nail Castellanos at the plate.
The Diamondbacks scored twice more in the eighth inning when Kole Calhoun singled and was then brought home by Nick Ahmed when Ahmed launched a two-run home run into left. A single, a fielder’s choice, a double, and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for the Snakes in the ninth, setting the table for Calhoun. Calhoun did his job, flying out to deep enough center to score Marte from third base. Meanwhile, the combination of Alex Young and Archie Bradley combined for three and a third innings of work during which they scattered four hits and a walk while managing to not allow anyone to score.
Final Score AZ 8 - CIN 2
Nick Ahmed was named player of the game, while Christian Walker was the one doused in coloured sports drink after the game for his role in hitting the go-ahead home run. The two teams are back at it again tomorrow with a match-up between Sonny Gray and Madison Bumgarner.