04/18/10 8:55 PM ET
Bullpen surrenders five in seventh for loss
Kennedy's five scoreless innings wasted vs. Padres
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
"This club is going to be tested on how resilient we are and how tough we are because it's been a tough week," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said.
Indeed, since being within one out of taking two of three games from the Dodgers, the D-backs have yet to win. The fourth consecutive loss came Sunday afternoon, a 5-3 defeat to the Padres that featured another meltdown from the bullpen.
The issue for the D-backs during the 1-5 road trip has been twofold: First, the offense has not continued to tack on runs after grabbing a lead. Second, the relievers have not been able to hang onto leads.
Three of the last four losses have come with the D-backs leading after six innings.
"It's real tough," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "In L.A., you think you've got a couple of games won and end up losing. It's just deflating as a team when we just can't close out the game. Part of it is we get the lead and we can't add on and we let the teams stay around and they get to our bullpen.
"It's just a tough stretch. I think our guys down there are proven. It's a rough start for them, but they'll turn it around and we just have to stay confident and put teams away when we get the chance."
Sunday, it was relievers Aaron Heilman and Juan Gutierrez that could not get the job done.
The D-backs had a 2-0 lead heading into the seventh before Scott Hairston greeted Heilman with a homer to left. Two outs later, Evereth Cabrera singled and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled him home to make it 2-1.
Hinch then went to Gutierrez, who intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to put runners on first and second.
That brought up Chase Headley, who had ended Friday's game with a walk-off homer off Gutierrez.
This time Headley ripped a ball over Conor Jackson's head in left. Hairston and Gonzalez scored and when shortstop Tony Abreu tried to stop his throwing motion, the ball left his hand and rolled into no-man's land in the infield as Headley came around to score to give the Padres a 5-2 lead.
"It takes 27 outs to win a game," Hinch said. "Not 21, not 24 not anything in between, it takes 27 outs. And it's no fun down there right now. We just need to find a way to get outs. That's the bottom line. They put up some tough at-bats, but when you have the lead, it's pretty gut-wrenching to not be able to finish. We've been ahead and that's a good sign. Now we need to find a way to play a full game."
The D-backs return home Monday to open a six-game homestand against the Cardinals and Phillies, a pair of first-place teams.
"These are the kinds of games we've got to win if we want to contend and right now, we're just not getting it done," Reynolds said. "We'll just go home and try to right the ship a little bit and be more consistent throughout the game."
Reynolds accounted for two of Arizona's runs, driving home Abreu with a two-out single in the first and launching a homer in the sixth off Edwin Mujica.
The runs gave Ian Kennedy an early lead and the right-hander kept the Padres off the board through his five innings of work.
"He was pretty effective and did his part to put us in a position to win," Hinch said. "I thought he had a pretty good game plan, good stuff and he executed that."
It's hard to quibble with five scoreless innings, but the D-backs could have used Kennedy to go a little deeper into the game. The Padres, though, made him work hard and his pitch count was at 102 when he was removed.
"There were a couple of innings where I threw a lot of pitches, but overall I liked the results," Kennedy said. "It was just too bad that we didn't win."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.