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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


D-backs blast way to Game 5

Tom Lynn
Ryan Roberts, right, celebrates his grand slam home run with teammates at home plate during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of the National League Divison Series at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. (Tom Lynn/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)

PHOENIX — One of the reasons the Milwaukee Brewers were willing to pitch Zack Greinke on short rest at home in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against Arizona was that it pushed Shaun Marcum into a road start in Game 3.

The Brewers hoped Marcum would rediscover the magic that led to an 8-3 record and 2.21 earned run average away from Miller Park. But the venue didn’t matter when his late-season slide lapsed into the postseason.

Marcum was pummeled for seven hits and seven runs in 42/3 innings Tuesday night as the Arizona Diamondbacks took apart the Brewers, 8-1, at Chase Field to stave off elimination.

The D’backs will try to draw even in the series in Game 4 on Wednesday night and take it back to a fifth game in Milwaukee on Friday.

“I knew these guys were going to come out and give us a tough ball game,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “I knew this was going to be a tough game.”

Making it tougher was the Brewers’ continued inability to solve rookie right-hander Josh Collmenter. Picking up where he left off in the regular season, when he blanked Milwaukee over 14 innings in two starts, Collmenter allowed only two hits and one run — a homer by Corey Hart — over seven frames.

It was a pitching mismatch that led to a lopsided game once Arizona broke it open with five runs in the fifth inning. The key blow was a two-out grand slam by rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt that had folks once again debating the wisdom of intentional walks.

In Milwaukee, it was Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson who caught flak for not walking Prince Fielder intentionally in key situations. This time, Roenicke took the opposite tact with Arizona cleanup hitter Miguel Montero, who had doubled and singled and knocked in two runs in his first two at-bats.

Roenicke does not believe in issuing intentional passes but didn’t want Montero to get another swing off Marcum.

“Montero scares me,” said Roenicke. “I thought it was the right move. I still do. But do I like doing it? No.”

Marcum said “it wasn’t my decision” to walk Montero but followed orders. His big mistake was throwing a 1-2 fastball at 87 mph right down the middle of the plate that the powerful Goldschmidt took the other way and over the right-field fence for a grand slam that made it 7-1.

“I tried to make a pitch in and missed out over the plate,” said Marcum. “That’s what good hitters do when you make a mistake, especially him. Give him credit for doing his job.”

A changeup specialist who relies on pinpoint command, Marcum has made many mistakes over his last five outings. The beating by the Diamondbacks left him with a 1-3 record and 7.76 ERA over that span and questions about how he has been feeling.

“I felt great today,” Marcum insisted. “I actually felt better than I have for the last month or so. I’m a location guy. If I miss location I’m going to get hit and that happened today.”

Roenicke said he did not think the long season had worn down Marcum and indicated he knew of no reason why he would have command issues in recent starts.

“His command isn’t where it was early (in the season),” said Roenicke. “But I think the first inning he fought to get through that. They got a couple of runs there. I thought he threw the ball OK after that.

“The home run was supposed to be a fastball in and we threw it right down the middle. Big mistake there that hurt him. But a couple of the middle innings he was OK. His command isn’t pinpoint like it was early.”

The Diamondbacks wasted little time getting to Marcum, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning to take their first lead of the series. Leadoff hitter Willie Bloomquist got it started with a single to left, then swiped second on a close play that the Brewers thought was an out.

Marcum retired Aaron Hill on a fly to center and Justin Upton on a grounder to short, with Yuniesky Betancourt making a nice play up the middle. Miguel Montero then sent a drive to center that banged off the wall for a run-scoring double, with Nyjer Morgan misjudging the angle and leaping to the left of where the ball struck.

“I ‘gator-armed’ it,” said Morgan. “I wasn’t too sure; I was coming up on that wall. I had some ‘short arms’ and couldn’t make the play. I feel like I should catch everything.”

Marcum created his own problems in the bottom of the third by walking Hill and Upton with one down. Montero made him pay with a ground single up the middle that scored Hill. Upton went to third on the play, but the Diamondbacks helped Marcum escape further damage by attempting a delayed double steal, with Upton an easy out at the plate on the return throw from Rickie Weeks.

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