May 9, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz (right) tags out Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Lyle Overbay in the fourth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Diamondbacks' Losing Streak Reaches Five After 7-2 Loss To Cardinals

St. Louis breaks the game open with four runs in ninth inning.

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Cardinals Complete Sweep, Putz Implodes In Ninth

An off day might be just what the Arizona Diamondbacks need to regroup, after they were swept in a three-game series at Chase Field by the St. Louis Cardinals. The D-backs lost the series finale 7-2 Wednesday night and dropped their fifth straight game overall, falling to a lowly 6-10 at home.

Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter ripped a double past the diving Jason Kubel in left field in the top of the sixth with two out and two runners on, driving in both runners to break a 1-1 tie. The hit also chased starting pitcher Wade Miley, who got through 5 2/3 innings allowing three runs on 10 hits.

"Just trying to go down and away and he just did a good job of going with the pitch," Miley said of the fateful hit by Carpenter.

Arizona couldn't come all the way back, though the D-backs did score once in their half of the sixth. Miguel Montero singled and scored on Aaron Hill's double with one out, but the Dbacks couldn't get Hill in to score.

The Diamondbacks were swept at Chase Field for the first time since Aug. 17-19 of 2010 and have lost five straight for the second time this season already.

Three singles by Lyle Overbay, Ryan Roberts and Miley, who drove in Overbay from second base with his base hit, gave the D-backs their first lead in the series. Miley raised his batting average to .417 (5 of 12) giving him the lead in hits among NL pitchers this season.

In the top of the third, the Diamondbacks got some help from home plate umpire Laz Diaz, who called the Cardinals' Rafael Furcal out at home plate trying to score from first on a double by Matt Holliday. Gerardo Parra threw to the cutoff man Willie Bloomquist, who fired home to Miguel Montero for the tag, though it looked like Furcal beat the throw and touched home plate just before the tag,

In any case, it was a great play all the way around for the D-backs to preserve their lead for the time being.

Arizona had a chance to go up by two, but Overbay was thrown out at home plate on a single by Roberts in the fourth. Shane Robinson made the peg from center field and Tony Cruz applied the tag to Overbay, who for some reason did not slide and went in standing.

"It's a miscommunication," manager Kirk Gibson said of Miley not motioning for Overbay to get down and slide.

"I got back there a little late and I went more verbal than motioning...It's my fault," Miley said. "I need to get down and let him know to get down and slide and what direction."

The Cardinals tied it in the fifth on a single by pitcher Kyle Lohse, who somehow made it to third base on a single by Furcal. Lohse went in standing and grabbed the back of his leg, but walked off the discomfort and scored when Carlos Beltran reached on an error.

Beltran hit a hard ground ball to Roberts, and the bad hop struck Roberts under his chin. The Cardinals loaded the bases, but Miley got Allen Craig to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Lohse left after five innings, his hamstring perhaps giving him problems. Furcal finished 4-for-5 on the night and the Cardinals had 15 hits as a team.

The Diamondbacks did get some good work out of their bullpen, that is, until J.J. Putz came on in the top of the ninth. Three relievers -- Bryan Shaw, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez -- held the Cardinals scoreless over 2 1/3 innings. But Putz, after retiring the first two batters he faced, gave up five straight hits, the third one a towering double off the center-field wall by Holliday to drive in two runs and the fourth a line drive home run by Craig.

Putz put his hands on his hips as he watched Craig circle the bases. Putz was lifted for Craig Breslow, unable to make it out of the ninth. He saw his ERA soar to 9.00 after allowing four runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning.

Gibson said location was Putz's problem, plus the Cardinals' aggressive approach on offense.

"They just keep coming at you," Gibson said. "If you don't locate the ball they pound you. They scored 23 (actually 22 in the series) runs, we scored nine. They outhit us, they outpitched us, they out-defended us."

Arizona (14-18) gets an off day at home, then welcomes in the San Francisco Giants for three games over the weekend.

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Diamondbacks Collapse To Cardinals, 9-6

They say in sports that the first game back after a long road trip is the most difficult. That may or may not be true, but it certainly is how the Arizona Diamondbacks played on Monday night....for five innings. It started with Joe Saunders giving up a home run to his first batter faced and three runs in the first innings to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The ugliness continued in the bottom of the first when Justin Upton, Miguel Montero and Cody Ransom were all struck out by Lance Lynn, stranding Gerardo Parra on third where he sat after a lead-off triple. Lynn earned the win and is now 6-0 on the season.

Manager Kirk Gibson cited the inability to score that run as a major turning point in the game along with the bullpen giving up two runs in the seventh after the D-backs have cut the lead to one.

"We'll come back tomorrow regardless. They're a good team, we know that," Gibson said. "We have to play better, we haven't played as well as we're capable of recently. If we want to beat this team we're going to have to play much better."

The damage continued as Saunders gave up two more runs off back-to-back solo home runs in the third and then was lifted in the fourth after giving up another run and loading the bases. Brad Ziegler came in and walked in a run to end Saunders night with seven runs (six earned) off nine hits and one walk in just 3.1 innings of "work". His ERA on the season dropped to 2.50 with his worst performance of the summer.

The Fightin' Snakes fought back, however, with a sixth inning for the record books. They dropped six runs on Cardinals relievers J.C. Romero and Fernando Salas to cut the lead to just one run.

The big inning featured a 452 foot BLAST by Cody Ranson that went into the Friday's Front Row porch high over left field. Montero had two singles in the inning which featured seven-consecutive hits before the St. Louis bullpen was able to strike out the side.

Ransom now has four home runs on the season which ties a career-high for him. He's been the hottest D-backs hitter of late. "He's on a roll. We need to get more people on a roll here," Gibby said.

Unfortunately, with the game at 7-6, Bryan Shaw came in and gave up the games second paid of back-to-back solo bombs to Cardinals sluggers Allen Craig and David Freese. The offense had no more juice left in the bats and the game ended with a 9-6 loss.

The good news, if you're looking for some, is that the D-backs rally forced the Cardinals to use five pitchers out of their pen and they were able to force Lynn from the game early. Maybe that will pay off as the series goes on.

Tuesday, it will be up to Ian Kennedy to try and get a home win. The D-backs are now 2-8 at home over their last ten games. The season is plenty early, but at some point these losses will be difficult to overcome for a team vying for another NL West Division Title.

Notes:

-- Willie Bloomquist was lifted from the game to start the Cardinals fifth inning. He reportedly jammed his knee on a throw. The D-backs already have five guys from their 25-man team on the DL. They have infield depth but really can't afford to keep losing players to injury.

-- Justin Upton was pulled as part of a double switch in the sixth inning. There was nothing reportedly wrong. Gibson said it just made the most sense to replace him based on the way they thought the game might play out.

-- Gibson said that Lynn didn't have great command and that the D-backs let him off the hook.

For more on the D-backs, visit AZ Snake Pit.

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