Diamondbacks open series against Brewers with a win
A year and a day after throwing 4 and 1/3 perfect innings in his major-league debut, Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Max Scherzer turned in a similarly impressive performance Thursday at Milwaukee.
Scherzer pitched six scoreless innings against the Brewers in the opener of a four-game series at Miller Park. Unfortunately for him and the Diamondbacks, the end result on April 30, 2009 was the same as it was on April 29, 2008 -- an Arizona loss, this time by the score of 4-1 after the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the seventh against the D-backs bullpen.
Scherzer allowed five hits and a walk on Thursday while striking out seven in his fourth start of the season.
“It was great, the best we’ve seen him this year,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said about Scherzer, who threw 107 pitches, 71 for strikes. “Highest pitch count we’ve gotten him up to, and with the score the way it was, every pitch meant something. By far his best outing of the year.”
Although Scherzer lowered his earned-run average for the season to 3.48, his record remained at 0-2 as he received a hard-luck no-decision. His statistics were similar last year, when he finished with an 0-4 record and a 3.05 ERA in 16 appearances (including seven starts).
The 24-year-old Scherzer, who was the D-backs’ first-round draft choice in 2006, is still looking for his first big-league victory. His career record is a remarkably deceiving 0-6, as he has compiled a cumulative ERA of 3.17 in his first 20 appearances in the majors.
“It’s just one of those things,” Scherzer said after Thursday’s game. “That’s just the way baseball is. I’m more concerned about the team winning than me getting my first win. I’m more disappointed that the team lost tonight.”
Scherzer left Thursday’s contest with a 1-0 lead heading into the seventh inning, but the D-backs bullpen couldn’t hold it.
Four Arizona relievers worked in the bottom of the seventh, and two of them (Tom Gordon and Scott Schoeneweis) had outings to forget. Gordon (0-1, 27.00 ERA) was charged with all four runs on two hits and two walks in a third of an inning. After Gordon exited and Juan Gutierrez struck out the only batter he faced, Schoeneweis pitched to two hitters, forcing in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk to Prince Fielder and giving up a two-run double to Mike Cameron.
Felipe Lopez led off the game for the Diamondbacks with his third home run of the year, a line drive into the right-field seats. But that was all the offense the Desert Snakes would muster against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan and three relievers.
After the homer by Lopez, the D-backs advanced a runner as far as second base on only two occasions, in the second inning (when Chris Snyder was hit by a pitch and Josh Wilson singled with two outs) and the seventh inning (when Conor Jackson doubled with one out).
Mark DiFelice (2-0) earned the win in relief for Milwaukee. He entered the game after Jackson’s double in the top of the seventh and recorded two outs on ground balls to end the inning. Todd Coffey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and Trevor Hoffman worked the ninth, allowing only a one-out single to Chad Tracy. Hoffman posted his second save of the season and the 556 th of his career.
By: Tom Kessler
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