Monday night looked a lot like many nights the Arizona Diamondbacks endured last season.
The Diamondbacks fell behind early, stayed close with decent starting pitching and watched their bullpen get rocked by the visiting team in the later innings. This time it was the St. Louis Cardinals, who scored four of their eight runs against Arizona relievers in an 8-2 win.
The Diamondbacks also struggled to come up with key hits against St. Louis starting pitcher Kyle McClellan, who said he'd previously had a hard time pitching at Chase Field. Not the case Monday, as McClellan got his first career major-league win as a starter and knocked in two runs with a pair of hits, his first two career RBI.
"It's better than my first loss," McClellan said. "It just comes with doing your job."
Lance Berkman hit two home runs and Jon Jay added a pinch-hit homer for St. Louis.
The Diamondbacks went 1 for 9 against McClellan with runners in scoring position. Berkman homered off reliever Sam Demel in the seventh and again off Juan Gutierrez in the ninth.
Gutierrez gave up three runs in 2-3 of an inning.
"We will keep on throwing him out there. He has the stuff to do it," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of Gutierrez. "He has been successful in the past but he has also gone through these streaks. We have to find a way to get him through it."
The Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs with two outs. Skip Schumaker's double down the right-field line drove in Matt Holliday, then McClellan picked up his second RBI with a single after a wild pitch advanced Schumaker and Yadier Molina to second and third.
"I got lucky a couple of times," McClellan said of his hitting. "They hit a couple of ground balls when they put that string of four (hits) together and it worked against us," Gibson said. "That happens sometimes."
Ryan Theriot's single to right drove in Molina, and that was enough for McClellan (1-0), who made it through six innings allowing a run on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
"Four walks isn't what you want," McClellan said, "but I made pitches when I needed to and I've got to work on trying to throw less pitches per inning. But you've got to go with what you've got that day."
McClellan drove in the game's first run with a double over the head of center fielder Chris Young in the third inning. The Diamondbacks were playing the pitcher shallow after he'd squared to bunt earlier in his first at-bat.
"He smokes it in the gap. My fault," Diamondbacks starter Barry Enright said.
Enright lasted six innings and was charged with four runs on nine hits.
"I lose my aggressiveness sometimes," Enright said. "You get a few guys on base and you start trying to place the ball instead of going after people."
Notes: The Diamondbacks will make up their snowed-out April 3 game with Colorado on May 24 as part of a day-night doubleheader in Denver. ... Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is scheduled to take batting practice with the Diamondbacks before Tuesday's game to prepare for his upcoming charity softball event. ... Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa called former big-league shortstop and current Diamondbacks bench coach Alan Trammell his "favorite player of all time," and openly lobbied for more Hall of Fame votes for Trammell, who has come up short 10 times. ... Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson isn't worried about low crowd turnouts even though the Diamondbacks are off to an encouraging start. "We owe it to ourselves and baseball and our organization and the fans that do show up to give it everything we have and don't give in to anything," Gibson said. After a crowd of 48,027 last Friday for the home opener, attendance has been no higher than 20,719 in the next three games.
- Kirk Gibson
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- starting pitcher
- Lance Berkman
- Chase Field
- St. Louis Cardinals