D-backs stumble out of second-half gate

D-backs stumble out of second-half gate

SAN DIEGO -- There was a lot of talk in the D-backs' clubhouse before Friday's game against the Padres about the second half of the season providing a fresh start.

Then the game got underway, and like too many in the season's first half, it did not go the D-backs' way as they were trounced, 12-1, in front of 33,177 at PETCO Park.

"Not a good way to start the second half," starter Dan Haren said. "Hopefully we can bounce back."

It was a frustrating night for the D-backs right-hander. After cruising through the first three innings, Haren could not find a way to get out of the fourth inning until five runs had scored as the Padres grabbed a 5-1 lead.

"I felt good up to that point and just got a couple of pitches up in the zone," said Haren, who fell to 7-8. "I just couldn't get a big out."

Adrian Gonzalez started the scoring in the decisive fourth with a two-run homer, but Haren had a chance to escape the inning with only three runs having scored when he got pitcher Jon Garland to ground to the hole at short. Stephen Drew gloved the ball and fired to first in time to retire Garland.

However, Adam LaRoche pulled his foot off the bag, at least according to first-base umpire Dana DeMuth. Instead of the inning being over, the bases were loaded, and Jerry Hairston Jr. followed with a two-run single.

"He made the call, we need to overcome it and get out of the inning and try to score some runs," D-backs interim manager Kirk Gibson said.

LaRoche argued the call and said DeMuth told him that he should go in the clubhouse and watch the replay and he would be surprised. Teammates who were in the clubhouse relayed to LaRoche that they thought he had kept his toe on the bag. Either way, LaRoche, who had a similar call go against him in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, thought the runner should have been out.

"I see other guys pull their foot and it's kind of like the double play at second, you don't have to be touching the bag, although I was," he said. "I see guys that pull their foot on a close play and it doesn't get called unless it's pretty blatant, and to have it twice in the last couple weeks, I can't remember maybe having it twice in my career."

Said Garland: "I looked down for some reason, and I saw it clear as day, and I'm glad [the umpire] did. He wasn't off by much, but he was."

Regardless, the D-backs did little offensively, first against Garland and then a trio of relievers. The D-backs managed just two hits over the final eight innings.

"We got beat," LaRoche said. "We were dead offensively."

And their biggest Achilles' heel in the first half -- the bullpen -- turned the game into a rout.

Blaine Boyer gave up a pair of runs in the seventh, and things got really ugly in the eighth when Jordan Norberto walked the bases loaded. Aaron Heilman, who relieved him, walked the first batter he faced to force in a run and then hit a batter to force in another run before walking home yet another run.

"I just don't feel like we played a very good game," Gibson said. "We didn't execute in any aspect of the game, pitching, fielding, we made some mistakes, we certainly didn't hit the ball as well as we're capable of. There's no explanation. We did not play a good game. There's no way to sugarcoat it. Certainly not the way you want to start, but it is what it is. Sometimes you have to wear it, it's not fun. Need to bounce back tomorrow."

That was a mantra for the club in the first half, and it's starting to wear thin.

"I don't know how much longer we can keep saying, 'Shake it off and get after them tomorrow,' " LaRoche said. "Obviously we're after the break now, and we need to make a move and at least be competitive, and we're not doing that right now."

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