Hellickson bemoans pitch to Pujols

Hellickson bemoans pitch to Pujols

ANAHEIM -- No matter how many different ways he was asked about his start Tuesday night, D-backs right-hander Jeremy Hellickson kept coming back to the fastball he threw to Angels slugger Albert Pujols in the sixth inning which wound up over the wall in center.

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The homer gave the Angels their first lead of the game as they went on to beat the D-backs, 4-1.

Hellickson had allowed just three singles through five innings, and he retired the first two batters of the sixth before walking the always-dangerous Mike Trout.

Two-out walks normally are not a good thing, but when it comes to Trout and Pujols, it is not such a bad outcome, because you don't want to let those two beat you. It's a big reason why opposing teams walk D-backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt so often.

"I'm not upset with the two-out walk to a guy like Trout," D-backs catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "And I wouldn't have been upset with a two-out walk to Pujols either."

Pujols' two-run jack

However, instead of pitching around Pujols, Hellickson fell behind him 2-1 and then left a fastball in a spot where Pujols could do damage with it.

"He did a real good job," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Hellickson. "Really, the mistake the Pujols was the only bad pitch for me. In that situation, we can't let that guy beat us. He's their Goldy and you see how they pitch Goldy in those situations. You've got to be very careful. Just made a mistake."

Those were the only two runs that Hellickson allowed as he turned in yet another impressive start by the rotation. Arizona starters have a 1.07 ERA over the last five games.

All that meant little to Hellickson in the quiet of a losing clubhouse.

"It's very frustrating to say the least," Hellickson said. "I just can't let him beat me right there. I mean, just really mad at myself right now."

Hellickson has had his share of rough starts this year, but he never has seemed more frustrated than he was Tuesday night.

"Just a fastball down and away," Hellickson said of the pitch to Pujols. "Just left it up a little too much. I just can't make that pitch to that guy in that situation."

Even the walk to Trout had Hellickson kicking himself.

"It's not a terrible two-out walk," Hellickson said. "But I was ahead of him 1-2, and I feel like I need to put him away right there when I was ahead. There [were] three balls that he couldn't even offer at. They weren't even close, so I've just got to do better when I'm ahead."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.