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.