Valdez's second start not as good as first

Valdez's second start not as good as first

PHOENIX -- Early on, it looked like Saturday was going to be a good night for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rookie pitcher Cesar Valdez pitched out of a first-inning jam and the offense put up a couple of runs against the Brewers' Randy Wolf.

Things, though, turned in the fourth and this one would get downright ugly before the Brewers polished off their 17-3 drubbing of the D-backs in front of 26,877 at Chase Field.

"It went away in a hurry," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said of his team's early momentum. "Wolf made some adjustments and then the only way to put it, is we started getting our butt kicked. We never responded back, we never counter-punched."

Going along with Hinch's analogy, if this had been a fight, the referee would have stopped it after the fifth inning.

Valdez (1-1) ran into trouble in his Major League debut last Monday against the Astros, but was able to pitch out of it with minimal damage. Houston, though, is the worst hitting team in the National League, while Milwaukee is one of the best. The difference was clear Saturday.

Still, the right-hander seemed to have the Midas touch when after he allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the game, he struck out Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder before getting Casey McGehee to ground out to end the inning.

Even after Jody Gerut hit a leadoff homer in the second, Valdez had a 2-1 lead entering the third.

The Brewers did not necessarily crush the ball against Valdez in that inning, but they sent 10 men to the plate and scored four times to go up 5-1.

"I saw him get out of jams early," Hinch said of Valdez. "It was pretty impressive the way he went through the middle of the order the first time around. To their credit, they made an adjustment and made him start to get the ball up a little bit, found some holes and then they were just relentless and never gave in."

That was evident in the fifth, when the Brewers chased Valdez with a pair of hits to start the frame and then battered reliever Blaine Boyer en route to a six-run rally and an 11-2 lead.

Braun capped the inning with a three-run blast to center that hit the bottom of the scoreboard.

"Once they started to extend their lead and their offense started getting a hit anytime they thought they wanted to, we just couldn't get them out," Hinch said. "Too many walks, too many hits, not enough urgency to get out of innings. There was nowhere to turn. ... They piled on us and embarrassed us."

While the Brewers continued to tack on runs -- with Gerut hitting for the cycle thanks to a two-run double in the ninth -- the D-backs' bats fell quiet other than a solo homer by Mark Reynolds in the sixth.

"After he settled down after the first, he started mixing his cutter in and spotted his fastball a little better," Reynolds said of Wolf. "We just weren't able to be patient enough to get his pitch count up and put some good swings on him."

After taking three of four from the Astros in Houston to finish off an 11-game road trip, the D-backs felt like they had things rolling in the right direction, but they have now dropped the first two games of the series with the Brewers and will try to avoid a sweep Sunday afternoon.

"We haven't figured out a way to continue the momentum and stay on an even keel," Hinch said. "It's been an inconsistent series-by-series team. Tonight will test us because tonight we got our butts kicked, and they shoved it in our face in our home ballpark. Tonight wasn't good and it wasn't fun, and there isn't a whole lot I can take out of this that's constructive. You take your beating like a man and show up tomorrow and try to salvage some pride and salvage the series to move onto the Dodgers series."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.