Cubs fall to Diamondbacks in 13 innings on Ahmed’s hit
PHOENIX (AP) — The Chicago Cubs seemed headed for their ninth victory in 11 games.
RBI singles by Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro gave the Cubs a two-run lead in the 10th inning. Closer Hector Rondon came on to finish it out. Then, thanks to Paul Goldschmidt, the lead disappeared and the Cubs lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 in 13 innings on Friday night.
Rondon retired the first two batters, then A.J. Pollock lashed a two-strike double. That brought up Goldschmidt, who sent a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats.
“He had great stuff tonight, outstanding stuff tonight,” manager Joe Maddon said of his closer. “His velocity was good. You saw the slider. The swing-and-miss slider was there. He just got the pitch in a bad spot. Two strikes with both hitters, we had a chance to win the game and we didn’t.”
It was his third blown save in 12 tries.
Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, who spent all of his big league career with Arizona before an offseason trade with the Cubs, said it was a pitch over the middle.
“It was not really a good pitch, especially to Goldy,” Montero said. “Against him, you really have to make pitches. He is a good hitter, a professional hitter. You can’t let that guy beat you with a pitch middle, middle.”
Nick Ahmed singled in the winning run in the 13th to give the Diamondbacks their fifth win in a row.
Tuffy Gosewisch doubled off Zac Rosscup (1-1) with one out in the 13th, then Ahmed — who earlier hit his second career home run — lined one sharply into the left-field corner to give the Diamondbacks their fifth straight victory. Ahmed, a slick fielding shortstop who got off to an awful start to the season at the plate, is on a seven-game hitting streak.
“I made some improvements, made some adjustments,” Ahmed said. “I’m starting to put the bat on the ball, starting to see it a lot better. The coaches here have been awesome — (hitting coach) Turner Ward and (assistant hitting coach) Mark Grace, and even my teammates here, they just stick with me, stay behind me, keep instilling confidence in me even though I’m struggling. That helped a lot.”
Goldschmidt didn’t go to the plate in the 10th thinking home run.
“I just try not to do too much,” he said, “just literally think just hit a single and get it to the next guy, a walk, whatever it takes. Anytime you go up there and try to hit a home run or make something happen, which I’ve done before, it’s usually a strikeout or a bad at-bat or something like that.”
Randall Delgado (2-2), the last of eight relievers used by Arizona, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 13th for the victory.
Goldschmidt was 3 for 5, including his 11th home run, with three RBIs and two stolen bases. He also made a leaping stab at first to rob Junior Lake of an extra-base hit. Pollock had four hits and was a home run shy of the cycle.
Ahmed, who entered the game batting .194, hit Jon Lester’s 1-0 pitch over the bullpen down the left-field line to tie it at 2 in the fifth for his first home run of the season.
In the 13th, Chicago had runners at first and second and one out, but Montero flew out to deep left field. Delgado walked Mike Baxter to load the bases, but Addison Russell grounded out to first to end the inning.
Lester went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits. His no decision ended a streak of four straight wins for the left-hander.
“I wouldn’t say it was grind but it definitely wasn’t the sharpest I have been,” Lester said. “Getting to the seventh with two (runs) is half= way decent. Giving our team a chance.”
Diamondbacks: RHP reliever David Hernandez, coming back from Tommy John surgery, continues his rehab this weekend for Double-A Mobile. He could join the team on its road trip next week.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta (4-4, 2.77 ERA) gets the start for Chicago. In his last outing, Arrieta allowed one run in seven innings, but still took the loss as the Cubs lost to Pittsburgh 3-0.
Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa (4-2, 4.08) goes for Arizona. In his previous start, De La Rosa threw nine shutout innings against Miami but got a no-decision. He is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his last three starts.