Although the playoff chances for the Arizona Diamondbacks are slim this late in the season, it almost looked like they were turning things around after winning two in a row at home against the San Diego Padres.
As has been the story for much of the D-backs' season, the streak ended quickly.
The Diamondbacks lost 6-5 yesterday afternoon at Chase Field, as the D-backs dropped below .500 again -- with 74 wins and 75 losses -- after spending just one day with an even win/loss record.
The last time the Diamondbacks were above .500 -- from August 17 to August 26 -- the team dropped back down to an even record after being swept by the Padres in a three-game series. Their losing streak continued after that, when the D-backs were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.
Yesterday's exercise in flirting with mediocrity started off with the Pads' Jesus Guzman hitting a three-run homer off Tyler Skaggs in the top of the first inning. Aaron Hill responded with a homer of his own in the bottom-half of the inning, but there was no one on base.
Logan Forsythe increased the Padres' lead to 4-1 in the top of the second inning by driving in a run with a double, and the D'backs added another run off a Chris Johnson single for a 4-2 game after four.
Brad Bergensen replaced Skaggs in the sixth, and Bergensen gave up a pair of doubles that both scored runs for the Padres. In response, Paul Goldschmidt and Johnson each drove in a run off singles in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 6-4 game.
D-backs rookie Adam Eaton -- who's been spectacular in his brief stint in the majors -- hit his first career home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, to bring the Diamondbacks within one.
Brian Shaw and Matt Albers managed to give the Diamondbacks a chance in the ninth inning, as neither reliever gave up a run over a combined three innings of work.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Diamondbacks set up what appeared to be a sure win, or at least a run to tie. Chris Johnson hit a single, and Ryan Wheeler reached base on a fielder's choice -- but Johnson was safe at second due to a throwing error. Jason Kubel came in as a pinch-hitter, and drew a walk to load the bases.
The Diamondbacks were then in perfect position down one in the bottom of the ninth -- the bases were loaded with no outs. Any ball hit into the outfield -- an out or not -- would nearly assure a run.
Mike Jacobs -- who was just recently called up to the majors -- popped out in foul territory in the infield, which is exactly what the Diamondbacks did not want to happen.
Eaton then hit a ground ball in the infield, which the Padres threw home and forced out Johnson, making for a bases-loaded situation with two outs now.
In an ending that's almost expected this year, Hill struck out to end the game, with a one-run loss for the Diamondbacks.
The D-backs' chances of making the playoffs now sits at 1.4 percent.
The Diamondbacks now head to Colorado to face off against the Rockies for four games. Wade Miley gets the start tonight against Drew Pomeranz. Game time is 5:10 p.m.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.