| Sports |

Chad Qualls Bungles Away Lead in 4-3 D-Backs Loss to San Francisco

Rumors have been swirling about the Interweb over the past few days that Chad Qualls might soon find himself hurling the ball for another team, especially after the Arizona Diamondbacks closer was placed on waivers earlier this week. But whatever luster the right-hander has earned this season (23 saves, 3.73 ERA) was ultimately tarnished on Wednesday night at AT&T Park when he bungled away a two-run lead against the San Francisco Giants, essentially handing them a 4-3 comeback victory.
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The gaffe went down during the eighth frame when the D-Backs maintained a 3-1 lead after being in command for most of the contest. Doug Davis had already pitched seven splendid innings, enduring only four hits and a homer by Juan Uribe, and the first two batters (Fred Lewis and Eugenio Velez) went down with a pair of ground outs. After Edgar Renteria walked and Randy Winn punched a base hit single, Snakes skipper A.J. Hinch decided it was high time to pull his starter.

All Qualls had to do was dispatch pinch hitter Bengie Molina (who's been hampered by a sore quad recently) to get out of the inning. Following his next three pitches, the result was the exact opposite.

We don't think we can sum up what happened next any more concisely than how Diamondbacks fan Bryan Word described it on his Twitter account last night: "chad qualls are you for real man? an 0-2 count and you give up a walkoff 3 run bomb...ouch man."

While it technically wasn't a walkoff homer, Word's description nailed the exact emotion that the Arizona players probably felt after watching the ailing Molina limp around the bases and score the fatal run of the game: Ouch, man.

Hinch attempted to salvage a win in the ninth by sending up Alex Romero, Trent Oeltjen, and Ryan Roberts (who'd started the game with a soaring homer into center field during the first). All three were easily dealt with and the Giants moved one step closer to securing the NL Wild Card, particularly since the Colorado Rockies fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-1.

As for the D-Backs, they're currently 1-8 on the current road trip and will try to avoid loss number nine when they send Yusmeiro Petit (2-8, 6.06) to the hill against Joe Martinez (3-1, 5.73) in tonight's series closer versus the Jints. First pitch is at 7:15 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR. More info: www.dbacks.com.

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