D-backs drop finale in Milwaukee
Owings struggles; offense musters just one run in loss
MILWAUKEE -- This certainly wasn't the way the D-backs wanted to start off their three-city, 10-game road trip.
Arizona was steamrolled by Milwaukee, 10-1, on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park, as the Brewers completed a three-game sweep.
The road has been an unkind place for the D-backs of late, as they have dropped 11 of their past 13 away from Chase Field.
"You've just got to keep moving on, keep grinding, keep playing," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "That's all we can do. It's not our best period right now, but the only way to get out of it is to keep playing and keep playing as hard as you can."
Milwaukee looked like it may blow the game open in the first inning, when its first three hitters reached base, but Arizona starter Micah Owings was able to strike out Prince Fielder before right fielder Justin Upton made a nice grab of Corey Hart's ball up against the wall and threw to second base to double up Gabe Kapler.
"[He] just got some balls up and [over the] middle of the plate," Melvin said of Owings. "The first inning was tough in that you look up and he's got 27 pitches and doesn't have an out yet. Justin ends up making a good play and getting him out of the inning, but it just seemed like after that, he struggled in the middle of the plate and the ball was up."
The Brewers made Owings (6-4) pay for every one of those pitches up in the zone in the third, as they collected five straight hits and scored four runs to bust open the 1-1 game.
"I looked at some of the film and felt like I was making pretty good pitches," Owings said. "And they were just able to string some hits together in the third. They got aggressive, and I should have used it to my advantage."
Instead, the Brewers turned the D-backs' aggressiveness against them in the fourth.
With two outs, a run in, and runners at first and third, Upton tried to make a diving play on Hart's liner to right. The ball skipped by him and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Hart to register a three-run inside-the-park home run.
"It's a ball he's got to go after and try to make a play on," Melvin said. "He just missed it. Not for a lack of effort. That's one he's got to take a chance on. If he catches it, obviously, they don't score a few of those runs."
The D-backs are still in first place in the National League West, but have not played well on a consistent basis since April, especially on the road, and that has led to frustration in the clubhouse.
"It's not like we're not trying," outfielder Chris Young said. "We're out there giving it our all. We just haven't been getting the big hits in the big situations, and that's been giving the momentum to the other team, basically. We had quite a few situations today when we didn't get it done, and I was one of them."
If there's any consolation, it's that the D-backs looked bad against the Brewers in losing three of four here last July before turning their season around not long after that. After dropping the first game of a series with the Cubs last July, they wound up winning 21 of 26, en route to the division crown.
"I know we can get out of it just as quickly as we got into it," Young said. "I know that. It's going to take all of us together, though. We've got to go out there, tighten it up. That's obvious."
Thursday's off-day is the first break the D-backs have had in 16 days. They will need to regroup quickly, because they've got four games against the Pirates and then three more in Shea Stadium before they return home.
"We've got some games left to play, and it's not something we can drag our heads about, because we're beating ourselves right now," Owings said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.