video thumbnail

Cowgill cracks a two-run single to center

PHOENIX -- All good things come to an end. And so it was for the D-backs on Sunday, as their club record 15-game home winning streak went by the boards in a 7-6 loss to the Padres at Chase Field.

The D-backs still won three of the four games in the weekend series that highlighted the reunion of the 2001 World Series team and a fitting tribute for fallen heroes on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The D-backs trailed, 7-0, but no lead seems to be too daunting as they continued to advance toward their fifth National League West title and first since 2007. With 15 games to play, they now head out on the road for three games each in Los Angeles and San Diego, beginning Monday against the Dodgers.

"We woke up a little bit and were able to fight back," said Chris Young, who had a two-run double in a five-run sixth inning that put the D-backs right back into the game. "I thought we were going to pull it out again, honestly. I thought we were going to find a way to win it. But, by all means, it was a great homestand. We've been playing good baseball lately and it's been exciting."

For the first time in a while, the D-backs lost ground on the second place Giants and the NL Central-leading Brewers, who both won on Sunday. The Giants pulled within 8 1/2 games, and Milwaukee reclaimed the second-best record in the NL behind Philadelphia by a half-game, a distinction that will likely mean home-field advantage in an NL Division Series matchup with the Braves.

Still, the D-backs' magic number is any combination of eight of their own victories and Giants losses with 17 days left in the season. The D-backs have a pair of off-days remaining on the schedule.

Winning the NL West is obviously the top priority, then home-field advantage, then making it to the World Series, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

"This is what we expect to do, push through," Gibson said after the game. "There's a saying about playing 27 outs, playing until the end. That's something we've preached for awhile. That's part of our character."

The last-place Padres had built their big lead off D-backs starter Josh Collmenter, who didn't have it on Sunday. Collmenter pitched into the fifth inning, allowing six runs on seven hits with three walks and was chased after Nick Hundley hit a two-run homer.

The seventh run was scored in the sixth off reliever Zach Duke on Jesus Guzman's RBI single.

"That guy has been throwing the ball well all year," Padres manager Bud Black said of Collmenter. "He's a strike-thrower and he threw some good pitches that we laid off and took some walks."

The D-backs had several chances to tie the score, but none better than a first-and-third situation with one out in the seventh and Gerardo Parra coming to the plate. Gibson instead dipped into his bench for Justin Upton, the All-Star right-fielder who had been given the day off as he battled a cold and fatigue all weekend.

On a day when his brother, B.J., hit his 20th homer, a grand slam for the Rays, Upton was antsy sitting on the bench. The pair became the first brother tandem to accumulate 20 homers and 20 steals each in the same season.

"Gibby saw me put on my batting gloves and grab my bat, so he knew I wanted to get in there," Upton said. "It didn't come out the way we wanted it to, but I'm not going to take a day off when we have a chance to win a game."

Upton faced left-hander Joe Thatcher, who walked in the winning run in the 10th inning on Saturday night. This time he beat out the back end of a fielder's-choice grounder to drive in Henry Blanco with the sixth run.

About establishing baseball history with his brother, Upton said, "I knew that. I looked up there [at the scoreboard]. They scored a lot of runs today. So it's pretty cool. It's definitely a cool accomplishment. We're glad we're the first. It's an awesome accomplishment. I hope we can do it again. Both of us are pretty young still. There's room for improvement. We'll try and pull it off again."

Upton immediately stole his 21st base to go along with his 30 homers, but was stranded on second base. His brother has 27 steals. But the two don't compare stats, he said.

"No, not at all," Justin said. "I pull for him. He pulls for me. However it ends out, we'll talk trash at the end of year."

B.J. does have one career advantage: the World Series appearance the D-backs are craving. Comments