Players working on improving at-bats with runners in scoring position, Hale says
By Jake Rill
PHOENIX -- With two runners on, D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb hit a ball deep off the right-field wall in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 8-5 loss to the Astros. Yet he only ended up with a single.
Michael Bourn thought the ball was going to be caught and planned on tagging up from second base, so he only made it to third, and no runs scored on the play. Only one run scored during the rally, after which the D-backs still trailed by five runs.
The play just about summed up the day for the D-backs, who lost for the 13th time in 19 games to cap a lackluster May with another losing homestand. They won their first home series on Sunday after taking two of three from San Diego, but then they dropped a pair to Houston.
Arizona is 9-20 at Chase Field this season and has a losing record during all four of its homestands. The Braves are the only other team with 20 or more home losses.
"We've had numerous times where we've scored some runs and done a good job and had a chance to blow it open or add on later in games, and we haven't," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "There's times with guys in scoring position where our at-bats aren't as good as other times, but it's stuff we're working on."
Even after Lamb was forced to hold up at first base in the fifth, the D-backs had the bases loaded with only one out. However, Brandon Drury and Chris Herrmann both struck out, and the only run scored when Bourn came home on a wild pitch.
The D-backs took a 2-0 lead in the first but missed a chance to break it open. Yasmany Tomas struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning. Houston's George Springer hit a three-run homer in the ensuing half-inning to put his club up for good.
In two innings, Arizona had the leadoff man on but didn't score, and it left eight runners on base. Jean Segura drove in a pair of runs in the ninth to give the D-backs life, but Astros closer Luke Gregerson struck out three in a row to notch the save.
The D-backs faced a large deficit after starter Patrick Corbin had his shortest outing of the season, allowing seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. It was the second day in a row the D-backs' starter was pulled in the fourth.
Entering June, the D-backs are a season-low eight games under .500 for the second time after going 11-17 in May.
"I think there's a level of concern with every part of our game right now," Hale said. "Right now, we're having a hard time holding the other team down, and that's something we're going to work really hard on to give ourselves a chance later in games to be able to win them."
Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.