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05/09/10 9:20 PM ET
Frustrated D-backs drop third straight
By Jason P. Skoda / Special to MLB.com
PHOENIX -- A baserunning blunder, lack of timely hitting and another bullpen implosion filled out the Arizona Diamondbacks' list of inadequacies in Sunday's 6-1 loss to Milwaukee to ensure the Brewers left town with a sweep. While baserunning hasn't been a problem thus far, the other two factors in the defeat before 25,358 at Chase Field have been as persistent as the seventh-inning stretch. There every game. At least it seems that way. "We all want reasons why things happen the way they happen," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't know. We got beat. They came in out in and outplayed us, outpitched us and out ran us on the bases. They swept us. "We need to pick ourselves and get back at it because the Dodgers come to town tomorrow, and they always play us tough. I'm not really in the placing-blame business. This series was very bad, and we paid for it." The D-backs had a great opportunity to at least tie the game in the seventh after entering the frame down, 2-1. Chris Young started it with a single off reliever Todd Coffey and was soon off to the races when Stephen Drew followed with one-hopper off the right-field wall. Both runners were in high gear, and it appeared at the very least the tying and go-ahead runs would be in scoring position. Instead, Young stopped short soon after clearing third base, and Drew was hung between second and third. Eventually, Young was back at third and Drew was tagged out. Hinch said third-base coach Bo Porter originally flashed the stop sign for Young, but sent him on to home when Drew rounded second at full speed. Drew, on the other hand, said he dug for third after seeing Young head for home. "It's hard to tell," Drew said. "From my standpoint, I wanted them to throw to third and have C.Y. score. I'm watching Chris the whole way, because I can't see Bo. Right before I am touching second, C.Y. is turning it on so I am thinking I have to go three here. It was just unfortunate." In any event, the D-backs got nothing out of the inning after the next three hitters were unable to drive in Young to tie the game. "With no outs, we are going to be pretty conservative there," Hinch said. "You don't run a runner off [the base] that is ahead of [you]. I'd like to take a look at the play again, but needless to say, it was a bad play." From a third perspective, the Brewers handled it just right. "That was kind of a circus play," Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun said. "A lot of moving parts. I was really proud of us for not screwing that up. That was a huge momentum-builder for us when we were able to get out of that inning without getting a run, and then we can back and scored a few." Those few came of reliever Esmerling Vazquez came in for the eighth inning and surrendered four earned runs in one-third of an inning as Casey McGehee and Zaun nailed back-to-back homers. "I was very confident with him with the way he pitched," Hinch said. "He had put together a nice string of outs and fell into a good comfort zone. I felt like he was the best option for us to keep it at 2-1 as hot as he has been. To have it backfire is frustrating. I think it has officially hit everyone down there in the bullpen." The struggles wasted another quality start by Ian Kennedy. The right-hander allowed six hits and a walk (intentional) in his seven-inning effort with two earned runs and five strikeouts. Kennedy (2-2) really dug down in the sixth inning to make sure the game stayed close when he got out of a bases loaded and one out situation by getting Zaun to pop up a 3-0 pitch and Jody Gerut to ground out. "It was a tough one to lose," Kennedy said. "You'd like to be on the top side of that, but I was the second best starter today." That's because left-hander Chris Narveson (3-0) handcuffed the D-backs, who scored a total of six runs on 18 hits with 29 strikeouts in the series. Narveson struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings while allowing one earned, three hits and two walks. It was a continuation of a season-long trend of the D-backs struggling to score runs if someone doesn't go deep. The D-backs loaded the bases in the ninth with one out against Jeff Suppan, but pinch-hitter Tony Abreu grounded into 1-2-3 double play. "Frustration probably doesn't do it justice as far as how the last three games have gone," Hinch said.
Jason P. Skoda is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.