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09/25/08 7:00 PM ET

D-backs knocked out of playoff race

Third straight loss to Cards clinches NL West for Dodgers

ST. LOUIS -- This was not the way the D-backs wanted to bow out of the playoff chase.

Not with a blowout 12-3 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

"That was disgusting," left fielder Conor Jackson said. "It was embarrassing. You can't pitch, you can't hit, you won't win games. It was embarrassing."

It was quite a contrast from Monday, when they beat the Cardinals in the opening game of this series. Arizona had won seven of eight and there was talk in the clubhouse of a miracle finish to the season.

"Once you get it to two [games out in the National League West], it's really anybody's game," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "Tuesday night, for whatever reason, it just didn't feel like our momentum carried over from the night before. We got behind early, had the bases loaded in the first inning and couldn't push one across. It seems like to an extent, we haven't been able to find the momentum that we had after that. Not being able to get the win here in the next three days is very frustrating."

Certainly, they believed they could stave off elimination until the weekend. Instead, three straight losses left them mathematically eliminated.

"We weren't good enough," Jackson said. "Bottom line. There's nothing more you can say."

They certainly weren't good enough Thursday as the Cardinals jumped out to a 2-0 lead on D-backs starter Doug Davis in the first inning.

The D-backs actually took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Mark Reynolds, who had struck out in the second to set the record for most strikeouts in a season, drove home a pair with a single to left.

"Mark had a big hit, knocked in a couple of runs and then the game got out of hand," Melvin said.

Indeed, the Cardinals scored one in the bottom of the fourth to tie, before taking the lead with two in the sixth and putting the game away with a five-run seventh that included a three-run homer by Albert Pujols.

It was a tough day for Davis. The left-hander gave up just three runs, but with 12 baserunners in four-plus innings, it seemed like he began every frame with two men on.

"Every inning, it seemed I would give up a hit and a walk and I was always making pressure pitches," Davis said. "The first three, four innings, basically I was under pressure every single pitch."

As is usually the case when he struggles, Davis was unable to get ahead of hitters and had to come into the zone with his fastball.

"You fall behind and have to concede, you get hurt," Davis said.

There was plenty of that in the quiet D-backs clubhouse as players tried to make sense of what happened to a promising season that began with a 20-8 mark.

"That's why you can't win a division in April," catcher Chris Snyder said. "We hit some tough skids there, we had our chances to put it away and it just didn't pan out."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.