SAN FRANCISCO – The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed barreled around the bag and blew past his third base coach. Tony Perezchica wanted Ahmed to stop. Ahmed kept going.
In fairness, the out Ahmed made at home to end the eighth inning was the closest the Diamondbacks have come to scoring in two days at AT&T Park. But that didn’t make the out any less painful for the Diamondbacks, who lost 1-0 to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
The Diamondbacks have played 18 innings in this ballpark over the past two days and have managed just 11 hits, only two of which have gone for extra bases. They have hit some balls hard. They have had some crummy luck. But they also have not hit enough balls hard – or, perhaps, created their own good luck.
BOX SCORE: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0
Ahmed’s decision in the eighth inning might be an example of that. On first base with two out, Ahmed rounded second base on David Peralta’s shot into the gap thinking he had a chance to score.
Center fielder Steven Duggar raced back, played the ball on one hop, spun and fired a strike to shortstop/relay man Brandon Crawford. Ahmed did not stop on his way around third. Crawford’s throw home was high, but catcher Nick Hundley made a jumping catch before ducking down to apply the tag.
“I didn’t see the stop sign,” Ahmed said. “I don’t know if it was late or not. I’ll have to go check video or talk to (Perezchica). I thought he was waving me and I was just going as hard as I could.”
The Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed talks about his mind-set as he was thrown out trying to score in the eighth inning on Tuesday night.
It was the ninth time Ahmed had made an out on the bases this season, a total that would have tied him for the fourth-most in the majors entering play Tuesday. Ahmed acknowledged he’s made his share of mistakes on the basepaths this season. He referred to a handful of plays in which he has knowingly made errors, plays he wishes he could have back. He does not count the out on Tuesday night among them.
“If that throw is offline just a little bit, I’m probably getting in there safe,” Ahmed said. “I think at that point in the game it was probably the right play, trying to put some pressure on them.
“They had to make two really good plays,” he added, referring to Duggar cutting the ball off and Crawford’s throw, “and they did.”
Perezchica had already departed the ballpark by the time Ahmed spoke to reporters, but Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo did not seem to share Ahmed’s view of the play.
“I know there was a missed sign and he ran through it,” Lovullo said. “He probably just miscalculated what was going to happen. … We know Crawford has a very strong arm and he’s a great relay thrower. I’m sure Nick had a good reason but I’ve yet to ask him why.”
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his team’s offensive struggles and Nick Ahmed’s baserunning in a 1-0 loss to the Giants.
In the past two days, the Diamondbacks have gone 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Their lone hit in those situations – a line-drive single by Ahmed in the sixth inning on Tuesday – was hit too hard for the runner to score from second.
Lovullo did not offer an opinion when asked if his team is pressing at the plate – it was a non-answer that could be viewed as an affirmative – but he did say the quality of his hitters’ at-bats in key situations could stand to improve.
It’s going to need to. The Diamondbacks’ lead in the division has once again disappeared; they are tied with the Rockies for first place, and the Dodgers, who were 4 1/2 back six days ago, are suddenly just one game out. As to whether the tightness of the division is related to the struggling offense, Ahmed didn’t think so.
“We’ve just had a couple of bad games offensively,” Ahmed said. “(Clay) Buchholz pitched great (Tuesday night). (Patrick) Corbin pitched fantastic yesterday, too. The pitchers are doing their job. We’re going to come out and swing it tomorrow.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.