Slick-fielding D-backs take Game 1 from Mets

Slick-fielding D-backs take Game 1 from Mets

NEW YORK -- The opportunities came and went on Sunday, with each ending in the D-backs retreating to their dugout without a run as the missed chances continued to pile up. They finally broke through in the top of the ninth, though it wasn't because their bats finally came through in the clutch.

In the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field, the D-backs beat the Mets, 2-1, thanks to an error by Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy in the ninth. Addison Reed nailed down the save.

Arizona's pitchers stifled the Mets' offense for most of the game, getting them to ground into five double plays to escape trouble.

"Those guys made good pitches when we needed it," manager Kirk Gibson said. "That was the story. We held it tight, then we got a break there in the last inning."

A.J. Pollock led off the top of the ninth with a double to right, and Ender Inciarte moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt. After a Martin Prado strikeout, Jenrry Mejia intentionally walked Gerardo Parra to put runners at the corners. Chris Owings hit a grounder to shortstop, but Murphy dropped Ruben Tejada's throw to allow Pollock to score the go-ahead run.

It was a lucky break for an Arizona offense that had been dormant.

The D-backs couldn't get much going against Mets starter Rafael Montero, who was making his third Major League start. After Owings' solo home run in the first inning, Arizona only had one more hit off the 23-year-old. Montero departed after six innings with 10 strikeouts.

But the D-backs had scoring opportunities throughout the game. With runners at the corners in the third, Miguel Montero grounded out to second to end the inning. Eric Chavez led off the seventh with a double off Jeurys Familia, but Arizona's next three hitters couldn't drive him in.

The D-backs also missed a prime chance to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth.

With two outs, Paul Goldschmidt doubled to left off Jose Valverde. The Mets chose to intentionally walk Montero to face Aaron Hill, but Valverde also walked Hill on four pitches. That brought Chavez up with the bases loaded, but he flied out to center to end the inning.

The D-backs went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, yet the Mets were just as futile, going 1-for-13 in those situations.

D-backs starter Bronson Arroyo struggled early, but limited the damage. The right-hander allowed three straight singles that snuck through the infield in the bottom of the first, the last coming off David Wright's bat for the Mets' first run.

Yet Arroyo, coming off a rough start against the Cardinals last week when he allowed five runs, found a groove and worked out of trouble. He induced inning-ending double plays in the second, third and fourth innings.

Arroyo didn't allow another run, leaving after six innings with one walk and one strikeout. He surrendered six hits.

Gibson said he removed Arroyo from the game after 75 pitches because of a "tender" elbow.

"If he was feeling fine, I would've left him in," Gibson said. "But it's one of those deals, he knows his body."

Arroyo said he isn't concerned about it, and expects to make his next start.

"I'm 37 years old, sometimes you're beat up out on the mound," Arroyo said. "That's just the way it is."

Oliver Perez, Evan Marshall and Reed combined for three scoreless innings. The Mets had two singles off Reed in the ninth, but he got Juan Lagares to fly out to left to end the game.

Though the D-backs' offense struggled, their pitchers made all the right pitches to stymie the Mets long enough.

"We made them when we needed to make them," Gibson said. "That's a great sign.

Chris Iseman is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.