Bats break out as D-backs snap losing streak
PHOENIX -- The streak is over. It had been more than two weeks -- 15 days, to be exact -- since the last time the D-backs had gotten to celebrate a win. Over that stretch, they lost 13 straight games and experienced plenty of frustration.
On Sunday afternoon, the D-backs took out some of that pent-up emotion on the Cardinals, as they pounded out 13 hits on their way to a 9-2 win in the series finale at Chase Field. With the victory, Arizona avoided matching the longest losing streak in franchise history.
When it was over, the D-backs' players danced and celebrated loudly in the clubhouse, while manager Torey Lovullo finally found a moment of peace.
"I'm emotionally exhausted right now," Lovullo said. "Obviously, I was feeling energized, and then when the third out was made, I was practically asleep in the dugout. It's just some of it wears on you. You can't get away from it. You wake up thinking about it. You hurt for the players. So I mean, emotionally, I'm sure these guys are exhausted. And we've been thinking about it for a long time to get over that hump and sit here saying, 'We won a baseball game.'"
St. Louis took a 2-0 lead, before Arizona answered back with a Tim Locastro RBI single in the second inning and a Ketel Marte solo homer in the third. The D-backs then took a 4-2 lead on Marte’s two-run single in the fourth.
Arizona broke the game open with a five-run sixth. Yet, even then, no one in the home dugout was willing to take anything for granted.
"I was thinking about it, but I wasn't willing to say it out loud," second baseman Josh Rojas said. "I believe in jinxes, so I wasn't going to say anything. And I don't think anybody really said anything. I think everybody was just keeping their nose down and playing the game till it's over, playing to get the last out. And I think once we got that last out, everybody kind of let their shoulders down and took a deep breath. It's like, 'OK, we did it. Now, we go back to playing regular baseball.'"
Although the D-backs snapped their losing skid, a stretch of 22 losses in their past 26 games has left them in a deep hole. Sitting at 19-35, they still have a long way to go to salvage their season.
But that's the goal, and Lovullo has a theme he shared with the team after the game.
"I told the group, it's like chopping a tree," Lovullo said. "And that's going to be our mentality. You can't run up to that tree and bend it and break it, knock it over in one day. But we've got to take our axe, and we’ve got to keep pounding away at it and that tree will eventually fall. That's the mentality we have.
"But each person that picks up that axe grabs it and puts it in the most precise spot and does their damage to that tree every time they have the opportunity. And that, I feel like, should resonate with these guys."
Added Rojas, "We're not expecting to go out there and win 13 straight now. I mean, we'd like to. So you've just got to go out there and play the game like you know how, and the results will happen if we do what we are supposed to do."
For now, the D-backs are supposed to enjoy the feeling of victory for about 24 hours. Then, they'll have to face Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the opener of a three-game series at Chase Field on Monday night.