Sanchez loses handle early, Pirates fall, 10-2, in Arizona
April 11, 2013 8:00 AM
Matt York/Associated Press
Jonathan Sanchez delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Diamondbacks.
By Bill Brink Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHOENIX -- Jonathan Sanchez gave the Pirates a second consecutive poor start Wednesday, a recent inversion of the team's play in the first two weeks of the season.
Wednesday, though, Sanchez didn't pull out of it.
The Arizona Diamondbacks hit Sanchez early and hard in a 10-2 Pirates loss at Chase Field. James McDonald allowed four first-inning runs Tuesday, but kept the Diamondbacks off the board for the next four innings and earned the win.
"We played with live ammo the last two days off the mound early in the game," manager Clint Hurdle said. "[Wednesday] it blew up on us."
Sanchez (0-2) allowed nine runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. He walked four batters, hit a batter and allowed two home runs, both of them to A.J. Pollock.
"He's a high-ball hitter; the balls he hit today were up," Hurdle said.
Sanchez threw 93 pitches, 55 strikes, without making it out of the fourth inning.
"I threw strikes a lot and couldn't make that quality pitch to get them out," Sanchez said. "They got good hits off me."
Sanchez's outing was a departure from his first start, when he allowed three runs in five-plus innings and walked only one against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The outing also came in conjunction with the uncertainty surrounding the rotation, which will need at least one spot start in place of the injured Wandy Rodriguez.
The Diamondbacks twice sent nine men to the plate in an inning and made hard contact all game. Poor control, first from Sanchez and later from Chris Leroux, aided the Diamondbacks.
"Our inability for him to command the fastball [inside] allowed their hitters to get very comfortable at the plate," Hurdle said.
Pollock doubled with one out in the first. Sanchez had Pollock picked off second base, caught between second and third, but threw the ball away, allowing Pollock to score.
"I just didn't set up my feet," Sanchez said. "I want to get it there as fast as possible and didn't set up my feet. I threw it away."
Sanchez walked Martin Prado, and Paul Goldschmidt singled to put men on first and third. Goldschmidt ran for second on a pitch to Miguel Montero to avoid a double-play ball, and it worked perfectly: Montero grounded out to second, but Prado scored and the inning continued.
Alfredo Marte doubled, the third hard-hit ball of the inning off Sanchez, and extended the Diamondbacks' lead to 3-0. Sanchez threw 30 pitches, 19 of them strikes, in the first inning.
Josh Wilson walked to lead off the second and Gerardo Parra singled before Pollock hit his first home run of the season, giving the Diamondbacks a 6-0 lead.
Sanchez threw 71 pitches in the first two innings but returned for the third to save the bullpen. Jeanmar Gomez and Justin Wilson pitched extended outings Monday, and Jason Grilli was not available after pitching three days in a row.
Pollock hit his second home run in the fourth, and another walk and a single drove Sanchez from the game.
"I was throwing everything out there," Sanchez said. "I walked four guys but that's part of the game. I just got hit."
Leroux relieved him and walked the first three batters he faced, the final two of which forced in runs.
It didn't matter because of the way the pitchers performed, but the Pirates could only score two runs against Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley. Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones, Travis Snider and Neil Walker were not in the lineup against Miley, who earned his second win in as many starts and allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings.
The Pirates are off today and resume play Friday at home against the Cincinnati Reds.