A 10-2 loss to the Padres on Monday afternoon at Chase Field dropped the D-backs a full game behind San Diego, the first time they've been more than percentage points from the top spot since July 27.
For a team that has dropped 10 of their last 15 games, the D-backs didn't seem to be a team ready to push the panic button.
"I think we'll be all right," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "We've hit some dry spells offensively before. I know there's not as much time left in the season right now, but one game back is not the worst place in the world to be at this point."
Left unsaid by the manager is that if the season ended now, they would be in the postseason by virtue of a three-game lead over the Phillies and Dodgers in the Wild Card standings.
But it also goes without saying that they'll need to play better than they did on Monday if they hope to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
"Obviously we haven't had the best offensive club in the National League this year, but I think we're better than what we've shown, I think there's potential there," outfielder Eric Byrnes said. "Potential just means that you haven't done it yet. So, if we keep this up we'll be sitting at home in October. If we start playing better, if we start playing up to our capabilities and fulfilling that potential, then I think we have a good enough team to play in October."
The D-backs didn't look like a playoff team against Greg Maddux. The Hall of Fame right-hander has struggled against Arizona throughout his career. He brought a 1-10 lifetime mark against the D-backs into Monday's game and departed with his first victory against them since Sept. 7, 2000.
"We got off to good starts against him," Melvin said in explaining his club's prior success against Maddux. "We put it to him early on and today that wasn't the case. And you can see he got better and better as he went along."
Maddux (11-9) allowed two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings and was no doubt helped by a Padres offense that jumped on Arizona starter Micah Owings from the start.
Brian Giles led off the game with a homer, Geoff Blum added a two-run shot in the second and then Giles and Adrian Gonzalez each added solo shots in the third to give the Padres a 5-0 lead and send Owings to the showers.
"I felt good, the main thing I was trying to do today was to come out and put my team in a position to win and I'm disappointed that I didn't get it done," said Owings, who fell to 6-8. "I just wasn't quite as sharp as I could have been. You've got to tip your hat to those guys for the swings they put on them."
The D-backs, who dropped two of three to the Rockies over the weekend, did not play with much energy in this one.
"We thought we should have taken that series against the Rockies, and obviously San Diego came out ready to play today," Byrnes said. "They showed up here a lot more prepared than we were. That's what it looked like. I think with our style of baseball, we need to get guys on base to really have a good chance of winning. The way we run the bases, that's what separates us from the other teams, that's what makes us as good if not better than these other teams, our aggressive style of play. It's pretty tough to steal first base."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.