D-backs, Royals set for desert clash
(SportsNetwork.com) - It's hard enough to deal with a staff of Kansas City pitchers that's been throwing the ball well. But it's even harder to do so without your best offensive player.
Nonetheless, that's the challenge the Arizona Diamondbacks face on Tuesday night at Chase Field, when they open a three-game series versus the red-hot Royals without the services of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt was hit by a pitch Friday night against Pittsburgh and Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said that his eight-week recovery time will keep him shelved for the rest of the season.
Goldschmidt was runner-up in the National League most valuable player voting to Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen last season. McCutchen was hit by an Arizona pitcher the night after Goldschmidt's injury. The latter was leading the 2014 Diamondbacks with 19 home runs, 64 walks, 69 runs batted in and a .396 on-base percentage.
Jordan Pacheco played first base in Goldschmidt's absence on Saturday and Mark Trumbo was the starter for the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Kansas City has won nine of 12 games while its pitchers have compiled a 2.81 earned run average.
Tough luck lefty Danny Duffy gets the call for the Royals after winning just twice in his last nine starts, in spite of a solid 1.74 earned run average. He's gotten just one run per game in offensive support across the last eight starts, including no runs in his last two.
"I'm just very, very grateful to be a part of this team," the left-hander said.
Arizona sends its own lefty, Wade Miley, to the mound as he looks to build on a 5-4 defeat of Cincinnati on Wednesday that raised his record to 4-1 in his last six starts.
He allowed seven hits in 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Reds and finished July with a 2.45 ERA.
"As a starter, you've got to find a way to keep 'em at bay," Miley said.
In one career meeting with the Royals, in 2012, Miley tossed seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win.
On Sunday in Oakland, James Shields tossed eight solid innings and Omar Infante went 3-for-5 with a two-run double, a run scored and a stolen base as the Royals held on to beat the Athletics, 4-2, in the rubber match of a three- game set.
Shields (10-6), who rebounded from losing three of his last four decisions coming into the game, held a perfect game through five innings and finished the day with only two runs allowed on just four hits and no walks.
"Just get (Shields) a couple runs and he'll take it from there," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.
Nori Aoki and Salvador Perez each had RBI singles for the Royals.
In Arizona, Tuffy Gosewisch scored the game-winning run during the 10th inning to lift the Diamondbacks to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a bizarre finish of a four-game set.
Gosewisch hit a liner into left-center field for a double off Mark Melancon (1-3) with one out. Nick Ahmed walked and Gosewisch moved to third on a wild pitch.
Andy Marte then stepped into the batter's box and grounded to shortstop Jordy Mercer, who flipped the ball to Jayson Nix at second base for an out. Nix tried to turn the double play, but his throw to first hit a sliding Ahmed and deflected towards the mound, allowing Gosewisch to give Arizona the win.
"I went in hard and slid late. Looked like Nix kind of dropped down to try to make the throw and just hit me in the arm," Ahmed said.
08/05 10:38:18 ET