BY: ED COLE
PHOENIX, Ariz. – It wasn’t quite the birthday present Jeremy Hellickson wanted.
On the day Hellickson celebrated his 28th birthday and his first start with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants didn’t feel like celebrating with him. Instead, they flipped Hellickson’s big day completely on its side, chasing him out of the game after 4 1/3 innings, as the Giants would go on take two of three in their opening series with Arizona, this time by a 5-2 count.
With the win, San Francisco clinched its ninth straight series win at Chase Field.
The Giants’ leadoff hitters faced Hellickson five times. They got four hits off him in those five at bats. Hellickson gave up nine hits in all, to go with three earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts.
“It’s tough when that leadoff guys gets on every inning,” Hellickson said. “First inning I get ahead 0-2, and I let him [Nori Aoki] back in the count, and I throw a bad 2-2 changeup and that’s kind of how the game went.”
Arizona manager Chip Hale saw nothing from Hellickson worthy of writing home about.
“I don’t think any of his [Hellickson] location was very good. The ball was up with two strikes and they hit it,” Hale said. “He just didn’t have his good stuff tonight.”
Hellickson concurred with what Hale had to say. He felt like nothing in his repertoire was working on Wednesday night.
“I really didn’t have command of anything tonight,” Hellickson said. “I probably threw a handful of pitches where I wanted, and then when I did get ahead of guys I made a lot of bad two-strike pitches and just fell behind way too many guys.”
The game could’ve been way worse than 5-2. There were many jams that the defense bailed Hellickson out of, as evidenced by San Francisco leaving eight men on base while he was out on the mound.
“It could’ve gotten out of hand there early if those guys didn’t make the plays they did, so they did a good job,” Hellickson said.
Hellickson has a simple formula on turning things around in his next start.
“I just gotta go out there and make better pitches,” Hellickson said. “There’s nothing really I can do in-between starts to do that. [I] just gotta be better.”