Diamondbacks lose first series since August 21

The Arizona Diamondbacks won only one game out of three at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres, as they try to close in on the 2011 MLB playoffs.  The Padres have long been eliminated from the playoffs as they sit at the bottom of the National League West with a record of 65 wins and 88 losses.  With only nine games remaining in the regular season, the Diamondbacks need any combination of five wins or five San Francisco Giants losses to win the National League West.  They are currently two games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for second in the National League.  The Diamondbacks need to win games to close out the season, but fell short in the weekend series.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Wade MileyOnce again the Diamondbacks got down early in a game.  The Padres scored two in the first inning of Friday nights game against starter Wade Miley.  Miley made a swift recovery and did not allow another run in the remaining five innings he threw.   Miley now has a first-inning ERA of 9.00, and has allowed 9 runs in the first two innings of his six starts.  He has allowed a total of only 7 runs after the first two innings in his six starts.  The remainder of the Diamondbacks bullpen held the Padres scoreless, but two runs off two singles and a double in the first inning were enough to put the game away early.  Padres starter Tim Stauffer pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings and the shutout continued with the Padres relievers.  The Padres used a total of four pitchers, allowing only five hits, no walks, and shutting out the Arizona Diamondbacks for only the fourth time all season 2-0.

Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron HillThe Diamondbacks didn’t fare too much better in game two, as they could only muster up one run in the top of the first inning when Aaron Hill hit his second home run as a Diamondback.  The Diamondbacks were held scoreless the rest of the game as the Padres pitching held the team to only five hits for the second game in a row.  Josh Collmenter was trying to get his tenth win of the season, but gave up solo home runs to Orlando Hudson and Jeremy Hermida.  Those two runs, plus an early run in the second inning were more than enough to give the Padres the 3-1 win.  Missed opportunities were the name of the game for Arizona.  Ryan Roberts was thrown out attempting to steal second with one out in the second inning, and Justin Upton was picked off first base after being walked with one out in the sixth.  In the top of the fifth, after John McDonald singled to start the inning, Collmenter fouled out attempting a bunt to advance McDonald to second.

Joe Saunders pitched 8 2/3 innings in game three, giving up just one run.  Saunders picks up his ninth road win, and is now at 12-12 for the season.  He is 4-1 with a 2.12 ERA in his last five starts.  The Diamondbacks had four singles and a walk in the first three innings, but also hit into two double plays, which is rare for the team that leads the major leagues, grounding into the fewest (78) double plays so far this season. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul GoldschmidtAfter only scoring one run in the last two games, Diamondbacks Miguel Montero hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, and Paul Goldschmidt did the same in the sixth to give the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead.  The Diamondbacks tack on three additional runs late in the game, and Goldschmidt ended up going 2 for 3 with three RBIs.  J.J. Putz came in for the final out of the game to secure his 41st save on the season.  The 5-1 victory snapped a three game losing streak for the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks might be pressing a little too hard to try and win these last games to secure the National League West title.  The last nine games for the Diamondbacks will be played at home, starting with a three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates tonight.  The Pirates are 68-85 on the season and have only won two of their last ten games.  The Diamondbacks went 1-2 against the Pirates on the road earlier in the season.  With the San Francisco Giants winning their last eight games, the Diamondbacks need to win their next three series to ensure a playoff birth.

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~ by Troy Erickson on September 19, 2011.

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