D-backs Lack Timely Hitting And Lose Third Straight, Downed By Cubbies 9-4

The Arizona Diamondbacks, as has become their trademark, had difficulty getting timely hits and could not take advantage of nine walked batters. They fall 9-4 to Chicago and lose their third straight.

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D-backs Drop Third Straight Game, This Time A 9-4 Loss To Cubs

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Geovany Soto and Starlin Castro drove in two runs each, and Alfonso Soriano added a late two-run homer to surpass 800 career RBI, as the Cubs defeated Arizona, 9-4, to kick off a three-game set at Chase Field.

Kosuke Fukudome also homered and finished 2-for-3 with a pair of walks and runs scored for Chicago, which has won two of the last three games.

Tom Gorzelanny (3-5) got the win for lasting five innings and permitting three runs on five hits.

Arizona's Ian Kennedy (3-7) saw his losing streak extended to four consecutive starts after surrendering nine hits and seven runs over 5 2/3 frames. Kelly Johnson knocked in two in the loss.

The club has now dropped three in a row after winning in Kirk Gibson's managerial debut last Friday. The D'Backs cleared house with the firing of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Josh Byrnes a day earlier.

Fukudome set the tone with a home run to lead off the game, his seventh of the year, and Adam LaRoche struck out with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the first.

The Cubs tacked on three more runs in the second. Xavier Nady and Aramis Ramirez began the frame with back-to-back singles, and Castro tripled to make it 3-0. Soto then doubled in Castro.

The D'Backs loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, but managed only Miguel Montero's sacrifice fly. Mark Reynolds grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

LaRoche came back with a leadoff homer to right in the fourth, but Chicago got the run back an inning later as Marlon Byrd hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice with runners at the corners.

Chris Young started the Arizona fifth with a base hit and scored on Johnson's triple, but LaRoche ended the inning with a groundout with two aboard.

The Cubs extended their lead in the sixth on Soto's run-scoring double and a pinch-hit RBI single from Mike Fontenot.

Arizona again loaded the bases in its sixth-inning at-bat with two walks and a single against Andrew Cashner. James Russell came on and yielded a sacrifice fly to Johnson, and Justin Berg got Justin Upton looking at strike three to end the frame.

The hosts couldn't get a runner past first base the rest of the way and Soriano launched a pinch-hit, two-run blast to left-center in the ninth to help assure the outcome.

Soriano now has 801 career RBI. It was his 14th home of the season...LaRoche now has 13 homers on the year...Berg was recalled from Triple-A Iowa prior to the game as Chicago optioned pitcher Jeff Stevens back to Iowa...Soto ended 3- for-4, while Young collected two hits, scored twice and stole his 15th and 16th bases of the seasons for the Diamondbacks...Gorzelanny walked a season- high six batters and struck out four...Kennedy did not walk a batter after issuing a career-high nine his last time out. He fanned six in the loss...Arizona left nine men on base.


Disappointing D-backs (32-50) Face Disappointing Cubs (35-47), 1:10 p.m. AZT

(Sports Network) - Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy said he didn't know what led to him walking a career-high nine batters, but he has had plenty of time to think about it.

Set to start for the first time in nine days, Kennedy will try to halt a three-start losing streak this afternoon when Arizona kicks off a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field.

Kennedy hasn't picked up a victory since May 19, losing each of his last four decisions -- all on the road. His last outing on June 26 versus the Rays featured 115 pitches over 5 1/3 innings as he allowed two hits in addition to his nine free passes while also striking out seven.

"It's not acceptable and it's very, very frustrating," Kennedy told Arizona's website after falling to 3-6 on the season with a 3.77 earned run average. "I don't know what's wrong. I have to look at film and figure it out quick before my next outing."

Perhaps a return home will help the right-hander, who is 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA in six starts at Chase Field. The 25-year-old Kennedy also beat the Cubs in his lone career start against them despite allowing five runs -- four earned -- over eight innings of a 13-5 victory on April 29.

That was on the lone win for Arizona in that four-game set at Wrigley Field, as Chicago took the next three contests of that high-scoring affair by a 28-15 margin.

The Cubs counter today with Tom Gorzelanny, who bested the Diamondbacks on May 2 in the finale of that series with seven innings of two-run ball that also featured a season-high 10 strikeouts by the left-hander.

Gorzelanny made four more starts after that before being shifted to the bullpen, but he returned to the rotation on Wednesday to replace Carlos Zambrano. Gorzelanny pitched well versus his former Pirates club on that day, holding Pittsburgh to just four hits and three walks over five scoreless innings. The 27-year-old got a no-decision in his team's 2-0 loss, though, and is still searching for his first victory since May 26.

He is 2-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 10 starts this season and 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts versus the Diamondbacks.

While Chicago was able to score at will versus Arizona earlier this year, it was outscored 30-8 in losing three of four over the weekend to Cincinnati, which recorded a 14-3 triumph in Sunday's finale behind seven homers, including four off Cubs starter Ted Lilly.

Chicago could only counter with a pair of homers from Tyler Colvin, who posted his first career multi-homer game.

"[The Reds] hit seven home runs," Cubs manager Lou Piniella told his team's website. "You would think we could get a few balls up in the air and let them ride out of here. The only guy who did was Colvin. He hit both of them well."

Chicago was without third baseman Aramis Ramirez for a second straight game because of a left thumb injury, an ailment that limited him to just 10 contests in June.

Arizona has lost four of its last six contests and is coming off Sunday's 3-1 setback to Los Angeles that dropped the club 17 games back of first place in the National League West.

Dan Haren allowed just a run over seven innings, but reliever Aaron Heilman served up a deciding two-run homer in the eighth inning. Adam LaRoche scored the Diamondbacks lone run after his double was followed up with a triple from Mark Reynolds.

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