Exciting ninth ends badly for D-backs

Exciting ninth ends badly for D-backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Snyder summed up the situation facing the D-backs and their playoff hopes.

"If we want to still be playing here in the next four weeks, it's got to change," Snyder said.

What has to change is results like Tuesday night when they lost for the fifth straight time, this one a 5-4 stunner at the hands of the Giants at AT&T Park.

The loss was the D-backs' ninth straight loss on the road. Making matters worse for Arizona was the Dodgers' victory over the Padres, which increased Los Angeles' lead in the National League West to 2 1/2 games.

"We can't control what they do," Snyder said. "We've just got to take care of what's going on in here and get this ship right."

It seemed early on that the D-backs were headed in that direction when they jumped on Giants starter Barry Zito for two runs in the second inning. Doug Davis helped his own cause with an RBI single in the rally, and Stephen Drew added a sacrifice fly.

But after that, the Arizona offense went quiet, as San Francisco managed to finally tie the game in the sixth when pinch-hitter Bengie Molina's grounder went through the hole at short to score Nate Schierholtz.

The Giants grabbed their first lead in the eighth with Tony Pena on the mound. Pinch-hitter Fred Lewis chopped a ball that bounced over the head of first baseman Adam Dunn and went into right field to score Omar Vizquel. Rich Aurilia followed with an RBI single to score Randy Winn and give San Francisco a 4-2 advantage.

"Tony's been pitching great," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "That's the first hiccup he's had in quite some time. At this point, any time he gives up a couple hits and some runs it's a surprise."

An even bigger shock came not long after when the D-backs seemingly rose from the dead to tie the game.

Chris Young led off the ninth against Giants closer Brian Wilson with a single to center. Snyder followed with a two-run homer, and suddenly there was life in the D-backs' dugout.

"We had a good chance to win that game, especially after Snyder's homer," Melvin said. "A lot of times that will invigorate you, and we just couldn't close the deal."

Whatever momentum the homer might have given the D-backs dissipated quickly as reliever Jon Rauch allowed a leadoff single to Pablo Sandoval before walking Schierholtz.

"We brought Jon in to be a guy that could pitch late innings for us," Melvin said of Rauch, who was acquired from the Nats in July. "Once he couldn't get the first couple of guys out, I had to do something different."

So Melvin went to Juan Cruz, who got Vizquel to fly out, but then Eugenio Velez ended the game with a grounder through the hole at first.

"If you think I'm going sit here and talk about how ... I've been pitching, how I keep making mistakes left and right and it keeps putting this team farther and farther out of playoff contention..." Rauch said. "I really just don't know what to do right now. I wish I had an answer."

That goes for everybody in Sedona Red.

"I really don't know what to say anymore," Conor Jackson said. "We've just got to go back to basics and focus on the process, rather than the end result."

The D-backs, who have lost seven games in the standings over the past 11 days, have 18 games left to catch the Dodgers.

"It was a tough one to lose," Snyder said. "We've got Danny [Haren] going [Wednesday] and we've just got to get back to scratching and clawing to get back in it. It's not over. The season is not over. There's still plenty of baseball left to be played. We've got to keep reinforcing that. We're not giving in, we've just got to keep battling. Something big will happen. Something will get going and the energy, the morale, everything will pick up in this clubhouse and that's when we'll take off."

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