Gibson's faith unwavering after latest loss

Gibson's faith unwavering after latest loss

PHOENIX -- Kirk Gibson never said this was going to be easy.

Or even quick for that matter.

But the D-backs' interim manager believes in better times for his team, even after watching it drop a 6-4 decision to the Cubs on Tuesday night, the fourth loss in his five games since he took over the reins.

"We had some opportunities," he said. "Unfortunately we haven't had a lot of luck lately. But if we keep doing some of the things we've been talking about doing, our luck is going to change. You can call me crazy by continuing to be optimistic, but that's the way it's going to be."

The D-backs received a nice pitching performance from rookie Barry Enright, who was making just his second start since being called up from Double-A Mobile a week ago. The right-hander cruised through the first five innings, allowing just three hits.

"What we're looking for is people to execute game plans, and he was sharp early," Gibson said of Enright.

Stephen Drew gave the D-backs a 1-0 lead in the second when his sacrifice fly scored Mark Reynolds.

Enright made the final out of the fifth inning, and he altered his routine heading into the sixth when the Cubs' hitters were getting their third look at him on the night.

"I grounded out to end that inning and I rushed myself a little bit, and I feel like I went out there and lost that edge a tiny little bit," Enright said.

The Cubs would make him pay.

First Kosuke Fukudome homered to lead off the inning, and two outs later Aramis Ramirez smacked a two-run shot to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead.

"The third time through the lineup they started hitting that first pitch, first-pitch fastballs, balls that were a little more up as I got more tired throughout the game," said Enright, who fell to 1-1. "I guess it's a learning experience. The third time through the lineup I have to make better pitches."

The D-backs cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning when Kelly Johnson homered off Carlos Silva. It was Johnson's 14th homer of the year and his first since June 8, a span of 90 at-bats.

"It was a changeup," Johnson said of the pitch he hit out. "He throws a good one and he throws it to lefties, and he got me out on it the two at-bats before that. He just left one out over the plate, probably not where he wanted it."

After the Cubs roughed up the Arizona bullpen for a run in the seventh and two more in the eighth, the D-backs put together a rally in the bottom of the eighth.

Back-to-back RBI singles by Johnson and Justin Upton brought the D-backs to within 6-4, and they had two men on with just one out and their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters coming up.

"We've got guys on base with a chance to do more, and we just haven't been getting that big hit," Johnson said.

They would not get it Tuesday either as Chicago closer Carlos Marmol fanned Miguel Montero and Reynolds to end the threat.

Coming through in those situations and avoiding strikeouts is one of the things Gibson has tried to preach to his team.

"It's going to take time," Johnson said. "It's not going to happen overnight or in a week, it's going to take some time. I think we're all committed and we're all looking to do the best we can and to work on the things he wants us to work on. Certainly we want to cut down on the strikeouts."

The work at turning around the D-backs' fortunes will continue Wednesday.

"The frustrating part is that we haven't been able to affirm it with a victory," Gibson said. "We'll come back tomorrow and continue to work on our things. They're not going to give up on it. Quitting is just not an option."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.