PHOENIX (AP) — When A.J. Pollock dived and missed Tyler Saladino’s drive in center field, Arizona was all but assured of its sixth straight loss.
Pollock’s troubling tumble could prove even costlier than that for the slumping Diamondbacks.
The center fielder sprained his left thumb trying to field pinch-hitter Saladino’s inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 7-2 win over Arizona on Monday night.
Pollock laid out for Saladino’s line drive with two outs and the Brewers ahead 5-2. He missed, rolled over his glove hand and sat in center favoring his left hand while Saladino dashed around the bases and slid headfirst for the 28th inside-the-park homer in club history.
A trainer led Pollock off the field, and after the game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said the initial diagnosis was a sprained thumb. Pollock had X-rays and will see a hand specialist Tuesday.
“The trainer just recommended that we get him off the field. I’m going to follow what the trainer says,” Lovullo said. “He seemed to be giving decent feedback. … He (Pollock) wasn’t in a tremendous amount of pain, I do know that much.”
Pollock leads the team with a .293 average, 44 hits, 11 home runs and 33 RBIs. An All-Star in 2015, Pollock played only 12 games in 2016 after breaking his elbow on a slide just before the regular season started and was out from mid-May to early July with a strained groin last season.
“Seemed like he was fine walking out,” Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. said. “He’s a big part of this team.”
Jonathan Villar homered and scored three runs for Milwaukee. Junior Guerra (3-3) allowed two runs and walked four, and the Brewers’ bullpen finished up with three scoreless innings.
“If you go five or six good innings, you’ve got a good bullpen and you’ve got a chance for a win,” Guerra said.
The Brewers went ahead 5-2 in the ninth on Villar’s second home run of the season, then tacked on two more with Saladino’s sprint. After the game, he was showered with confetti in the visiting clubhouse.
“It’s a good feeling because it got by him, and then it’s time to kick it in gear at the same time,” Saladino said. “Everything you’ve got, turn it on. It doesn’t happen very often so you’ve got to dig a little deeper than normal.”
The Diamondbacks remain in first place in the NL West but have seen their lead shrink from six to 1 1/2 games since the beginning of the month.
Milwaukee has won four of five. Josh Hader lowered his ERA to 1.44 with two scoreless innings.
Christian Yelich singled off reliever Andrew Chafin with one out in the seventh, driving in Manny Pina to break a 2-2 tie. After Jimmie Sherfy walked the bases loaded, Domingo Santana’s fly ball to right made it 4-2.
Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin (4-1) was charged with four runs on six hits and struck out eight.
Villar, who wasn’t in the lineup until Ryan Braun was scratched before the game, had three hits.
Orlando Arcia, the No. 8 hitter, delivered a two-out, two-run double off Corbin to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The Diamondbacks didn’t get a hit off Guerra until Paul Goldschmidt’s double in the fourth, when Arizona scored twice to tie it at 2. Daniel Descalso scored when Souza doubled down the left-field line to make it 2-1.
Goldschmidt then trotted home on Nick Ahmed’s sacrifice fly.
Goldschmidt nearly had his first home run since April 15, but his two-out fly ball to right landed in Lorenzo Cain’s glove just in front of the fence to end the fifth inning.
Brewers: Braun was in the original lineup as the left fielder Monday but was scratched with right mid-back tightness. … 1B Eric Thames is spending the daytime before games at the team’s spring training facility in Phoenix doing rehabilitation on his injured left thumb.
Diamondbacks: RHP Braden Shipley (elbow) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday. … RHP Randall Delgado (oblique) will throw long toss Tuesday and a bullpen session Wednesday. … LHP Robbie Ray (oblique) threw 90 feet Monday, and 3B Jake Lamb (shoulder) continues his rehab assignment with Class A Visalia. … RHP Shelby Miller (recovery from elbow surgery) will make another extended spring training start this week.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 4.00 ERA) faces Arizona on Tuesday. The Brewers are 7-2 in his starts this season, with five straight wins.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.70 ERA) is 1-3 in six starts against Brewers in his career. He’s 15-1 at home since last year.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball