Big inning bites D-backs in finale loss

Big inning bites D-backs in loss

SAN DIEGO -- The big inning was a big problem for the D-backs on their seven-game swing through Southern California.

Monday's 6-3 loss to the Padres at PETCO Park was just another example as San Diego posted a four-run fifth to send Arizona back to the desert with a 3-4 record for the trip.

"It's unfortunate because we played better than a sub-.500 trip," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "There were a few innings each game that ended up really spoiling some pretty good baseball. On some level, it's the at-bats they put together against us, and on some level, we take responsibility. The multiple runs in innings is always a crushing blow to a team."

They certainly were for the D-backs this past week. To recap:

• Last Tuesday, the D-backs led 5-1 before allowing the Dodgers to score five runs in the eighth as LA won, 6-5.

• On Saturday night, the D-backs led the Padres, 2-0, before allowing six runs in the sixth in what turned out to be a 6-4 San Diego win.

• On Sunday, the D-backs led 6-1 in the ninth before the Padres rallied to tie it with a five-spot that included a three-run homer by David Eckstein. Arizona eventually won the game, 9-6, in 18 innings.

Then, of course, there was Monday night, when a 2-0 lead evaporated with a four-run fifth inning by San Diego.

The D-backs gave Jon Garland the 2-0 lead in the fourth when Gerardo Parra scored on an error and Josh Whitesell singled home Chris Snyder.

Though he was not pinpoint with his command, Garland did manage to get through the first four innings without allowing a run.

"I felt pretty good," said Garland, who fell to 4-6. "I was going out, attacking the zone, trying to get as deep as I can after yesterday's melee."

In the fifth, with two runs already having crossed the plate, Garland faced Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs and the bases loaded.

Garland fired a fastball on the outer edge of the plate that Kouzmanoff went the other way with and lined into right for a two-run single and a 4-2 San Diego lead.

"You know, I was truthfully shocked that he stayed on the ball that well after going inside the at-bat before," Garland said. "But he did a great job staying on it and he put it in play and it worked out for him."

Kouzmanoff gave the Padres some insurance in the seventh when he hit a ball past Eric Byrnes in left for a two-run double.

"He had to run a long way in a big gap," Hinch said of Byrnes. "I thought he had a good angle on it. I thought he was tracking it. It just eluded him. It's one of those plays it's a plus defensive play if you make it and it's tough to swallow if you don't. He had a good line on it and got a good jump on it and just couldn't come up with the ball."

Garland was asked after the game if he thought Byrnes should have made the catch.

"I think anything hit should be caught or fielded," he said with a laugh. "He had a long way to run for it. That's a question you'll have to ask him. He's an outfielder, I'm a pitcher. I know that ball should have been down better. He was able to put pretty good wood on it. Can't have it back now."

No, and the D-backs can't have their trip back either. Nor do they get to change their record to 4-3 or 5-2 just because they feel like they played better.

"As frustrating as it is, it's a building block," Hinch said. "But at the same time, guys want to see results and we need to win more games that we're supposed to. We keep playing good baseball. Obviously, we're in these games, we're playing better, we're playing with a little more bounce in our step. The next step is we need to win the games in which we're ahead, and we're going to work to do that."

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