So much for that winning streak. After enjoying a brief respite from losing while simultaneously having their way with Milwaukee for the past three games, the Arizona Diamondbacks were dealt an 8-4 defeat by the Brew Crew on Thursday.
Last night's game wasn't broadcast on television (thanks to the whims of Fox Sports Arizona), but if fans had managed to tune in, they would've witnessed the D-Backs finding another way snatch yet another loss from the jaws of victory.
Starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez's difficulties on the mound was one of the key factors in the defeat, as the 34-year-old righty struggled with his control of the baseball. Blaming his woes on the stifling 55 percent humidity inside Miller Park, Lopez allowed seven hits and three walks, as well as a passed ball and beaned batter (Lorenzo Cain) in five innings of work.
All of these assorted blunders enabled something akin to batting practice for the Brewers, who had back-to-back three-run innings to start the game to mount a 6-0 lead by the end of the second. One-time Arizona all-star and hometown hero Craig Counsell and Casey McGehee were the big-time ballers of the night after unleashing multiple RBI smacks in both innings, and the latter player going four-for-four and setting a team record with nine straight hits.
To their credit, the Diamondbacks made a valiant attempt to nullify Rodrigo's problems and got back into the game with a four-run fourth. Adam LaRoche who got things rolling by plopping a single to left, and then advanced to third following a double by Mark Reynolds. Rusty Ryal's RBI single then set the stage for a monster three-run homer by Stephen Drew that went 389 feet and brought the Snakes to within two.
Undaunted, the Brew Crew added to their lead with a solo jack by McGehee in the fifth, as well as a run caused by a throwing error by Reynolds in the seventh (which gave Cain the chance to reach home). Arizona had another comeback opportunity late in the contest when Milwaukee relievers Zach Braddock and John Axford each walked three D-Backs batters in both the eighth and ninth. Drew and his teammates failed to capitalize on these chance, striking out, popping out, and grounding out into a game-ending double play to give the win to their opponents (who avoided getting swept by one of the worst teams in the National League).
Speaking of the dregs of baseball, Arizona (46-70) now heads for D.C. for a weekend series with the Washington Nations (49-66) in what's sure to be epic battle between cellar dwellers. Joe Saunders (1-1, 3.27 ERA) will get another crack at justifying being traded from the Los Angeles Angels for Dan Haren in tonight's game when he goes against John Lannan (3-5, 5.44). Other probables for the series are Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.47) taking on the woeful Jason Marquis (0-4, 15.32) on Saturday, and rookie sensation Barry Enright (3-2, 2.64) matching up with Stephen Strausberg (5-3, 3.07).
The first pitch in tonight's "battle" (and we use that term loosely) with the Nats is at 4:05 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.