By HAL McCOY
Good baseball teams find ways to win. Bad baseball teams find ways to lose.
On Monday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, a spring training baseball palace in North Scottsdale, Ariz., the Cincinnati Reds found ways to lose their fourth straight spring exhibition game.
They kicked the ball around like a first division English soccer team after playing near flawless defense in thei first three games. Four errors played a major part in all six runs scored by the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 6-1 Reds defeat.
SHORTSTOP ARISMENDY ALCANTARA made two early erros, one on a throw and one on a booted ground ball, that led to Arizona’s first three runs. Alcantara has made three errors so far this spring. He also struck out and hit into a double play in three at bats. The Reds hit into a pair of double plays against the Diamondbacks, who came into the game 0-and-2.
VETERAN SCOTT FELDMAN, logged in as the team’s No. 3 starter, didn’t give up a hit in his 1 2/3 innings but the D-Backs scored two runs because he walked two and threw a wild pitch and Alcantara made an error.
The best part of the day for the Reds was a one-inning performance by left hander Cody Reed, a rotation candidate who has a 0-and-7 major league record. He faced three Diamondbacks in the third inning and went 1-2-3, all three outs on ground balls.
Former Cincinnati relief pitcher J.J. Hoover pitched the fifth inning for Arizona and faced four Reds, giving up a single and striking out one.
IT WASN’T A FUN DAY for Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton. He walked to lead off the game, but was erased on a double play ground ball by Alcantara.
Then he struck out twice, one on a two-strike bunt attempt on which he fouled the attempt with a runner on base.
Arizona’s third run came in the fifth when first baseman Chad Wallach messed up a ground ball hit by former Reds’ utility player Kristopher Negron. Negron ended up on second and scored on David Peralta’s single.
Reds left hander Wandy Peralta, a solid bullpen candidate, matched Reed’s perfect inning by pitching a 1-2-3 sixth.
THE REDS DIDN’T HAVE a hit through five innings and didn’t score a run until the eighth when Phillip Ervin singled and scored on a single by Sebastian Elizalde. Hernan Iribarren also singled but the inning ended when Gabriel Guerrero, a cousin to Vladimir and Wilton Guerrero, hit into a double play.
Another Reds error helped put the game out of reach in the eighth. Jeremy Hazelbaker singled to start the eighth and third baseman Brandon Dixon made an error. Reymond Fuentes then ripped a three-run home run to right field off Tyler Mahle for a 6-1 Arizona lead.
Mahle, a 22-year-old right hander, was 14-6 in 27 minor league starts last season — 8-3 at Class A Daytona and 6-3 at Class AA Pensacola.
The Reds had six hits, five singles and a ninth-inning double by pinch-hitter Sterling Turner. He was batting for bench candidate Ryan Raburn, 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. The Reds struck out 10 times and drew one walk, the game-opening free pass to Billy Hamilton.