With that in mind, the D-backs have begun a trend of letting offensive opportunities fall by the wayside. And for much of Wednesday night, their offense was stifled again, but Tuffy Gosewisch's RBI single in the 12th inning gave the team a 1-0 win, earning a split in the doubleheader with the Indians.
"It was huge, because I think we hit a lot of balls hard that ended up getting caught," Gosewisch said. "[The Indians] made some unbelievable defensive plays. It's just a matter of time before one finds a hole, but it was huge to finally get it and that it was us."
Earlier in the day, a walk-off home run in the ninth by 2010 D-backs Draft pick Zach Walters off Randall Delgado handed Arizona a 3-2 loss. Trevor Bauer, another former member of the D-backs, pitched a career-high eight innings, giving up just two runs on four hits while striking out nine.
"[Bauer's] got good stuff. Mixed his pitches, strikes were chased. He came out throwing first-pitch fastballs," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We were trying to wait on him, make sure he was hitting the zone, and he'd go fastball early and then kind of go to his offspeed stuff. His breaking ball was breaking down pretty good in the dirt."
Arizona was dominated at the plate through 11 innings of Game 2 despite having runners on for most of the night. And it looked as though the game would play out like that -- until the 12th. Gosewisch's hit off C.C. Lee didn't exactly open the floodgates, but they were pried open enough to squeeze out one run, which was enough for the victory.
"Obviously, it's a long day, and you're getting tired, and you have to keep grinding it out," Gibson said. "We've had many opportunities, and we didn't perform very well. It was kind of a day for pitching on both sides, and to come out with a split is good. We get a nice happy plane flight [to Miami for the next series]."
Alfredo Marte led off the 12th with a walk, the sixth time a D-backs leadoff hitter got on base. Didi Gregorius sacrificed Marte to second, and Gosewisch singled up the middle to send him home.
And just like that, the D-backs went from potentially lamenting their second straight frustrating performance at the plate to celebrating a hard-fought game on the road and an exceptionally long couple of days at the ballpark.
Some people had a harder doubleheader than others, though. David Peralta had an especially forgettable day, striking out five times and combining to go 0-for-10. After starting August by hitting .400, he is now 0-for-his-last-14. He drove a ball to deep right field in the sixth but was thwarted by a fully extended diving catch at the warning track by Ryan Raburn.
The late-game run vindicated a gem of a Major League debut for Andrew Chafin, who grew up 45 minutes west of Cleveland and attended nearby Kent State University. Chafin threw five scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and striking out three. He had solid command, inducing 10 groundouts, including a double play to end the fifth, and sure didn't have the look of someone making his first start let alone his first start near his hometown.
So what's the reward for a job well done? How about a trip back to Triple-A Reno?
"He battled, he made the pitches when he had to, and overall [it was] a really good performance. He got a taste," Gibson said. "We're going to send him back to Reno because we're going to need some pitching. It's kind of a bad deal. He did a good job, but he'll probably be back for us in September."
After the game, the team announced that it had selected the contract of right-hander Bradin Hagens from Triple-A Reno and optioned Chafin back.
Following Chafin's exit from the game, the bullpen held the Indians in check. Eury De La Rosa threw three innings of scoreless relief, working his way around two hits and a walk. Matt Stites added two innings of shutout relief, and Addison Reed closed it out for his 28th save.
Delgado also pitched an inning of scoreless relief and, oddly enough, was credited with the win just a few hours after being handed the loss in Game 1.
For a pitching staff that has had a tough season, it's at least a step in the right direction.