Wade Miley was once again strong on the mound, and he was helped out by an offense that scratched out a couple of tough runs as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Kansas City Royals 2-0 at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The victory gave the Diamondbacks their first series win since they took three of four from the Miami Marlins at the end of April.
The scoring in the game was light for Arizona, as they got a run on a squeeze bunt in the fifth inning by John McDonald and scratched across an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Justin Upton in the eighth inning. That was all they needed, but with the Kansas City bats completely silenced, it still was a bit nerve-wracking for fans who have been used to the bullpen butchering of games in recent days.
In that vein, it was good to see both David Hernandez and JJ Putz have good games today. Hernandez did allow one hit in the eighth inning, but he quit trying to be so cute with his pitches (his downfall on Thursday in Denver) and was locating the ball extremely well. As for Putz, he didn’t make things nearly as dramatic as he did in that victory against the Rockies, pitching a clean ninth inning to earn his ninth save of the season. He didn’t look particularly overpowering, but his stuff was well located and wasn’t over the heart of the plate, so his location was definitely of benefit.
Another big key in this game for Arizona was their ability to play small ball on a day where they were struggling to score runs. Once again they did poorly with runners in scoring position, going only 2-for-11 in the game, but it was the excellent bunt by McDonald and the smart sacrifice fly by Upton that stood out. These are the types of little things that the team has struggled to do in recent weeks, whether it be advancing runners on second base with less than two outs or being able to hit sacrifice flies in situations like the one that Upton succeeded in today.
Whether they can continue that remains to be seen, but the fact of the matter is that they will need to take advantage of situations like this when the division leading Dodgers come to town for a do or die series starting on Monday.
Ultimately, the spotlight shone most brightly on Wade Miley today. He has been completely ridiculous ever since taking the rotation spot of Daniel Hudson in April, and even when he finishes his minor league rehab assignment, there is little doubt that Miley has totally earned his spot in the rotation.
His demeanor on the mound is a thing of beauty, as he once again today showed just how supremely confident he is in his stuff. He only allowed six hits in his seven innings of work, and for the most part he was economical with his pitches, throwing 99 of them in today’s game. He got ahead of most of the batters he faced, threw two-thirds of his pitches for strikes, and most of all, he didn’t give the Royals any real shots to do serious damage against the Diamondbacks.
With a winning road trip under their belts, Arizona will head back to Phoenix for a three game series beginning tomorrow night against the NL West leading Dodgers. We’ll have plenty of coverage for Rant Sports as the Diamondbacks attempt to narrow the gap separating the two teams.
-The Diamondbacks now have a winning record on the road this season, with a 12-11 mark away from Chase Field. They are looking to improve things at home, however, where they are only 7-12. Meanwhile, the Royals’ record at Kauffman Stadium (site of the 2012 All-Star Game) is a rotten 5-17, but they are 11-7 away from Kansas City.
-Trevor Bauer was promoted to the triple-A Reno Aces this week, and he continued the success he had found in Mobile. He pitched eight great innings, and he struck out 11 batters in a victorious opening performance.