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D-Backs Unable To Recover From Early Hole, Lose 4-2 To St. Louis

After mounting one timely comeback, the Diamondbacks and lefty starter Zach Duke (2-4) couldn't find another in them, as they lost the final game of their four day set against the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2. Arizona split the series with the Cardinals 2-2, losing the last two matchups in close fashion.

Things looked bad early, as Duke found himself in unexpected trouble after giving up two hits to the top of the St. Louis lineup in the first inning. With runners on second and third, and no outs, All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday ripped a single to center field that scored Tony Cruz. David Freese followed with an RBI-sacrifice fly to push the early Cardinal lead to 2-0.

The Diamondbacks immediately responded in the top of the second, after second basemen Ryan Roberts smashed a one-out, one-on Jaime Garcia fastball into the left field stands to tie the game. The blast was Roberts' 11th homer of the year. Garcia minimized the damaged, however, striking out Willie Bloomquist looking with two men on base to end the inning.

Unfortunately, as soon as the D-Backs worked their way back from the early hole, they dug themselves a brand new one. Zach Duke's struggles continued in the bottom of the third, after walking Matt Holliday to send David Freese back to the plate. With Holliday threatening on first, Freese cracked a homerun to deep right field opening up a two-run lead the Cardinals would not relinquish.

The rest of the game went quickly for Arizona, as Garcia and a pair of Cardinal relievers stifled the snakes' bats, limiting Arizona to two hits or less in each of the last six innings. Fernando Salas finished off the game for St. Louis, notching his 16th save of the season.

Garcia picked up his eighth win of the season after pitching a solid six innings of two-run ball. The win is Garcia's second in a row. 

Zach Duke earned the loss for the Diamondbacks, giving up four runs and nine hits over his six innings. Overall, Arizona is 4-5 in games started by Duke.

With the defeat, the Diamondbacks (49-43) fall to 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the NL West lead. Following a four day All-Star break, Arizona will resume the second half of the season's schedule, opening a ten day home stand with a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. First pitch is on Friday, July 15th, at 6:40 p.m. MST.