Grit Index: McCarthy falters in Diamondbacks' hard-fought loss
McCarthy managed just seven outs, exiting the game having allowed seven runs, all earned, over eight hits and a walk.
The Reds, playing in Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark, struck early, when Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run in the first inning. They then scored three runs apiece in the second and third innings while the Diamondbacks went scoreless.
Reds pitcher Mike Leake helped his own cause, aiding his team's three-run second inning with an RBI double and later scoring. On the mound, the right-handed ASU product allowed four earned runs in 6.0 innings pitched, striking out three.
Choo scored again in the fourth on a Joey Votto single, after reaching base via a double to the base of the left field wall, putting the Reds lead at eight runs.
The Diamondbacks rally began in the fifth inning, when catcher Wil Nieves and centerfielder A.J. Pollock, who had both singled in the inning, moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by Leake. With two outs, pinch-hitter Jason Kubel singled to right, driving both baserunners in. Adam Eaton homered in the following at-bat, pulling the Diamondbacks within three.
Martin Prado added a run in the seventh inning, plating the speedy Tony Campana, who had pinch hit for Eury De La Rosa earlier in the inning, from second base. With Eaton already on base and Paul Goldschmidt walking in the following at-bat, the Diamondbacks rally looked like it may be enough to gain them the lead as Aaron Hill stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. He would face J.J. Hoover, who surrendered a grand slam to Goldschmidt just 24 hours earlier.
Despite putting together a good at-bat against the right-handed Hoover, and getting a high hanging curveball, Hill ultimately flew out to left field, appearing to be out ahead of the pitch and swinging off-balanced.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks bullpen, which ultimately sent all seven of its members to the mound Wednesday, allowed one earned run in 4.2 innings of relief, before the eighth, when Brad Ziegler surrendered a pair of runs.
Prior to that, in the eighth, a Gerardo Parra home run and an apparent arm injury drove Jonathan Broxton from the game with the Diamondbacks trailing 6-8.
Reds manager Dusty Baker called on his closer, Aroldis Chapman, to make a two-inning save.
Chapman gave up a run on an error during a would-be double play off the bat of Matt Davidson, with Wil Nieves, who had walked earlier in the inning, scoring.
The Reds' two-run eighth inning came with two outs, when Todd Frazier drove in Zack Cozart, Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips managed an infield-single RBI with the bases loaded.
J.J. Putz, the last man left in the Diamondbacks bullpen, came in to close out the inning, coaxing a flyball from outfielder Jay Bruce.
Finally, though the Diamondbacks' efforts carried into the game's final inning, when Prado walked and Goldschmidt singled, Chapman ultimately snuffed them out, getting a Hill popout, a forceout at second and a Nieves flyout to end the game.
The Diamondbacks showed once again that they play until the final out, creating chances for themselves throughout their loss to the Reds, despite their early seven-run deficit.
Martin Prado's hot streak at the plate continued, reaching base three times with a pair of hits and an RBI while Gerardo Parra was 2-for-5 with a home run.
Brandon McCarthy is now 2-8 with a 5.44 ERA. Wednesday was the pitcher's worst and shortest outing of the season, though he has thrice allowed six earned runs this season, once in a 2.2 inning outing.
-Martin Prado is hitting .392 with a .448 on-base percentage and a .582 slugging percentage in 18 games in August. The 30-year-old also has 19 RBI and nine extra-base hits in the month.
-Brandon McCarthy has given up more than three runs in eight of his 15 starts this season.
-McCarthy is 0-4 with a 6.98 ERA since being activated from the disabled list on August 4.
Trevor Cahill (4-10, 4.78 ERA) is set to make his second start since returning from the disabled list. He'll face the Reds' Mat Latos (12-4, 3.02 ERA), who is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA against the Diamondbacks in seven career starts. First pitch is at 9:35 a.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620 AM.
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- Alan Trammell, D-backs bench coach - Tuesday March 4D-backs bench coach Alan Trammell discusses Archie Bradley's impressive Cactus League debut.
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- Richard Justice, MLB.com correspondent - Tuesday March 4Is baseball held to a higher standard than other sports?
- Brad Ziegler, D-backs relief pitcher - Monday March 3D-backs relief pitcher Brad Ziegler discusses the upcoming season.
- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com baseball writer - Monday March 3Jerry Crasnick previews the 2014 NL West.