Chafin’s command absent in Diamondbacks’ 6-3 loss
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Chafin walked off the mound on Tuesday night for the Arizona Diamondbacks and immediately began thinking about the offseason, and the changes he plans to make.
A rough outing where he lost his command again gave him the starting point for improvement.
Chafin (0-1) walked two batters but was behind in the count and threw 69 pitches in three innings as Arizona lost 6-3 to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.
Chafin gave up four runs on seven hits to lose his first major-league decision in his third career start.
“I got a good bit of confidence boost from almost everything,” Chafin said. “I know if I make my pitches, I can get people out just like at any other level. I learned some things I’m going to need to do this offseason to come back and really try to excel next year.”
Chafin spoke with Arizona pitching coach Mike Harkey after the game and already started looking at his mechanics, which has caused him eight batters in 14 major-league innings. The left-hander had gotten away with the spotty command in his two previous starts and only allowed two runs in 11 innings coming into Tuesday.
“Overall a good experience for him,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “It’s about fastball command. I know Hark talked to him after he came out of the game about that. He needs to have a good offseason and be ready to pitch next year.”
Chafin struck out three batters in the first en route to five strikeouts in the game, which matched his total from his two previous starts. But the bottom of the order jumped on Chafin in the first after a leadoff walk to Josmil Pinto. The Twins scored three in the inning. After a scoreless third, Chafin gave up singles to the first two batters of the fourth to end his night.
“It was just one of those days I didn’t have a very good feel for my heater, my command wasn’t there and it made it difficult just getting behind in the count on every batter it felt like,” Chafin said. “It just made it hard to pitch efficiently and well.”
Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson (13-11) matched a career high with eight strikeouts and allowed one run in seven innings.
Trevor Plouffe added four singles and Aaron Hicks two hits and an RBI for Minnesota.
Ender Inciarte had four hits for Arizona and drove in a run with his fourth single of the game in the ninth. It’s the second career 4-hit game for Inciarte, who had four hits earlier this season in a 14-inning game.
The rookie outfielder was one of the few Diamondbacks to have success against Gibson. After leading off the game with a groundout, Inciarte had hits in his final four at-bats.
“The first at-bat, I rolled over and hit a ground ball to second and I told myself I was going to let the ball travel as much as I can so I can hit the ball up the middle and that’s what I did,” Inciarte said. “I let the ball travel, started seeing the ball better and started hitting to the middle.”
The rookie outfielder has hit safely in 12 straight games and is batting .400 with four doubles and four RBIs during the stretch. Since June 22, Inciarte has a hit or walk in 66 of 72 games as Arizona’s leadoff hitter.
DIAMONDBACKS: DH Aaron Hill is day to day after dislocating the top of his right pinky finger while sliding headfirst into home plate in the eighth inning Monday night. Paul Goldschmidt (fractured hand) felt good Tuesday after taking 40 lights swings on Monday. Matt Reynolds (elbow) was scheduled to pitch in an instructional league game Tuesday. Patrick Corbin (elbow) and David Hernandez (elbow) each threw from 75 feet for 6 minutes on Monday.
TWINS: Manager Ron Gardenhire hopes to get Tommy Milone, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 2 because of a neck injury, some work out of the bullpen later this week.
“I know he’d like to pitch. We’re going to try to find a way to do it,” Gardenhire said.
Vidal Nuno (0-6, 3.78) starts for Arizona in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale. He’ll be trying for his first win since coming over via trade from the Yankees.
Phil Hughes (15-10, 3.61) will try to become the first Twins’ starter to reach 16 wins since Carl Pavano went 17-11 in 2010.