Davis rocked as D-backs come up short
Arizona makes it interesting late after southpaw's weak start
PHOENIX -- When the D-backs left Los Angeles on Sunday, the biggest thing they had to look forward to was the teams they were about to play.They were about to start a string of 16 games against sub-.500 teams. After winning the first two of those games against the lowly Pirates, the D-backs have lost three home games in a row. The Dodgers now sit just a half-game back in the NL West standings after the D-backs lost to the Braves, 11-6, on Friday night. It had been the lineup that was struggling to find any kind of groove after a 13-run outburst to start the homestand, but on Friday night, left-hander Doug Davis simply didn't have command of any of his pitches. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings and walked four. The shaky start came on the heels of his shortest outing of the season, when he allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings to the Dodgers on Sunday. "A couple times we've seen him now where he's getting behind and doesn't really have great command of any of his pitches," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "It seemed like his curveball, to an extent, he had an idea of where it was going, but his fastball he was struggling with, and he gets behind and has to throw it over the plate." Melvin said he would be worrying more if Davis hadn't been just over a week removed from taking a perfect game into the eighth inning in San Diego. "He doesn't want to pitch like that, obviously," Melvin said. "It was a little bit of a struggle for him in the bullpen, and it carried into the game, and he just couldn't get command of his pitches and he fell behind. That's what happens." Davis cruised through the first inning and was given an early lead on a Stephen Drew leadoff homer, but allowed two runs in the second on a Casey Kotchman RBI single, followed by a Martin Prado double. Davis allowed two more runs in the third when Yunel Escobar led off with a single and Chipper Jones, who had just come off the disabled list, followed with a single of his own. Both ended up scoring on an Omar Infante double. Davis walked two batters in the fifth, both of whom scored, as four runs scored in the inning -- three charged to him. "I felt fine out there," Davis said. "I thought I struggled with my command a little bit, got behind and had to put it over the middle of the plate, pretty much." The D-backs slowly started to claw back, but it proved to be too tall an order, as it was in Thursday's game. "That's not typical for us," Melvin said. "Usually, we get a good start. If we score four or five runs, typically we win. That hasn't happened the last couple nights." The D-backs couldn't cash in on a golden scoring opportunity in the seventh. Alex Romero doubled with one out and scored on the next play when Chris Snyder doubled. After Tony Clark was hit by a pitch, the D-backs had the tying run at the plate, but both Drew and Conor Jackson struck out with runners at first and third and the Braves leading, 8-5. Brandon Lyon pitched the ninth and gave up a 434-foot bomb to Jones, who hit his 19th homer of the season and seemingly had no dropoff after being out of the Braves' lineup the last two weeks, going 2-for-4 with three runs and raising his Major League leading batting average to .371. Jones came off the disabled list at an opportune time, as he has raked in his career at Chase Field. In 38 games, he's hit .345 (49-for-142) with five homers. "I like hitting here," Jones said. "I've always been able to see the ball well here. It's a good environment and a fair ballpark. It felt good to get into one there in the ninth inning. Before I went on the DL, I hadn't really been hitting with much power." Davis got a bit flustered in the third inning when he thought home-plate umpire Ed Montague might have been squeezing him a little with balls and strikes. "You can't really argue that," Davis said. "It's his zone. He might have been a little erratic in my mind, but its part of the game. It's something that you've just got to bear down and make a better pitch." Davis didn't seem too concerned about his last two outings, despite seeing his ERA balloon nearly a full run since last week to 4.75. "I think I'm just going to grind it out like anybody else, and just keep on trying to make my pitches and execute the plan that I have going in there," he said. "I can't really stress about it and try harder because it will just get worse. I've just got to put it behind me, and go out there and do what I'm capable of doing."
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.