Sometimes, it just seems that a team is destined to lose. The Diamondbacks’ offense actually showed up for this showdown against the Miami Marlins. So did most of Arizona’s pitching. Even so, the Diamondbacks walked away from this game, wondering how they failed to notch a win.
Jon Duplantier got the start for Arizona. While Duplantier was anything but crisp in this outing, he was getting the job done. Through 4 innings, he allowed only one run to score on three hits and three walks. As I said, not crisp at all. Duplantier took the mound again for the fifth inning, however, Virtual Torey Lovullo also got Junior Guerra up in the bullpen. This felt a bit premature, but, given Duplantier’s erratic nature, this was not the worst idea. The fifth inning began with a single by Jonathan Villar. Duplantier then induced a ground ball double play off the bat of Miguel Rojas. It seemed that Duplantier was well on his way to finishing the inning and picking a a win for Arizona. That’s when Virtual Lovullo decided to make a pitching change. This change came with Duplantier at only 80 pitches and the bases empty. Given how spent the bullpen had become of late, this seemed like an odd choice. At least Guerra proved up to the task of getting the out.
Guerra needed only seven pitches to complete the fifth inning. Despite this, Virtual Lovullo turned to Andrew Chafin to pitch the sixth. Chafin’s first pitch was singled through the 5.5 hole by Jesus Aguilar. Jon Berti then doubled, putting runners on second and third. Chafin then plunked Lewis Brinson with an 0-1 pitch to load the bases, bringing up Monte Harrison. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Chafin fell behind Harrison 2-1. He then painted the outside edge with a Chafin change to even the count 2-2. The next pitch, a fastball, was tattooed by Harrison. The 438-foot fly ball landed deep in the bleachers in left, for a grand slam which put the Marlins on top. That was the end of the day for Chafin, but the damage was already done.
First Kevin Ginkel, then Braxton Garrett each contributed two innings of scoreless pitching during which the two combined to strike out seven Marlins. Nick Ahmed contributed a solo shot in the seventh inning to cut into the deficit, but it was simply not enough to come back from the big blow by Harrison.
Final Score: MIA 5 - AZ 4
The player of the game was Monte Harrison, whose big blast in the sixth decided this game in Miami’s favor.
Arizona’s homestand continues tomorrow against the Minnesota Twins with a match-up between Lance McCullers, Jr. and Luke Weaver.