Today's game against the Reds was perhaps the most crucial game of the season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Prior to first pitch, the team found themselves 8.5 games out of first place in the NL West with only 32 games left on their schedule. A win is what they needed in order to stay in the race.
At the end of the first inning, it looked like they might have been on to something. A balk by Reds pitcher Mat Latos sent Aaron Hill across the plate from third base, making the score 1-0. On top of that, Arizona was able to make Latos throw 33 pitches just to get out of the inning. That was only the beginning of the D-backs' good fortune.
In the fourth, shortstop Jake Elmore hit a towering ball into left field that barely stayed fair. Reds outfielder Chris Heisey was unable to make a play on it and in the end, he slid, making the blooper single into a double. Justin Upton scored all the way from first base, making it a 2-0 lead for Arizona.
Patrick Corbin, the pitcher for the Diamondbacks today, was dealing from the mound. He allowed no hits through 2.1 innings and he kept the Reds at bay and off the scoreboard all the way through the sixth inning. He got into a bit of trouble in the sixth, however, when Zack Cozart made it to second base and catcher Wil Nieves made an error trying to throw him out. Cozart then advanced to third, but would remain there after a groundout from Brandon Phillips.
The trouble for Corbin came in the next inning. After getting behind in the count to Heisey, Corbin proceeded to allow a two run bomb to center field, tying the game at two a piece. Dioner Navarro decided to break the tie, hitting a solo homer that hit the left field foul pole. At a 3-2 deficit and with a stellar Reds bullpen, the D-backs looked like they were in trouble.
To make things worse, Phillips put the nail in the coffin by hitting a two run blast over the yellow line in center field, making the score 5-2 and putting the D-backs out of reach. What seemed like moments later, Heisey hit his second home run of the game, the fourth time in his career that he has had a multi-homer game. Both home runs were allowed by relief pitcher Matt Albers, who has struggled since coming to the D-backs in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Corbin's final line was a bit misleading as to how he actually pitched in the game. He gave up all of his runs in the seventh inning off of two bad pitches, but those two pitches helped to decide the game. In all, he went for 6.2 innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, one walk and two homers with eight strikeouts. His season ERA has now risen to 3.93.
With a trip into Los Angeles and then San Francisco after that, the Diamondbacks will get a chance to rebound against divisional opponents, but it might already be too late. Arizona has failed to produce more than five runs since August 19th in a win over the Astros. The bats will need to get hot and the pitchers will need to buckle down if the D-backs want to keep their postseason hopes alive.