PHOENIX -- After playing well against the Giants in a four-game series in the Bay Area last week, winning the final two, the D-backs felt good about where they stood heading home to face the Cardinals.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo had a warning before they left San Francisco, though: It was OK to enjoy the couple of wins, but they needed to turn the page quickly because the Cardinals were going to present a big challenge.
That has certainly proven to be correct, as the Cardinals have outplayed the D-backs in both games so far in the series, winning a wild one Saturday night, 16-7.
There was a lot to digest, but here are three things to keep in mind from what transpired:
1. Pujols continued to dominate
Albert Pujols homered in his first two at-bats against Madison Bumgarner and narrowly missed a third when he lined a single off the wall in the sixth.
The homers were the 691st and 692nd of his career. Pujols, who also hit his first career home run at Chase Field 21 years ago, is fifth on the AL/NL all-time home run list, four behind Alex Rodriguez. He also moved into second on the AL/NL all-time total bases list. He now has 6,143, after entering the day one behind Cardinals legend and Hall of Famer Stan Musial (6,134). The only player with more career total bases than Pujols is Hank Aaron (6,856).
"I've seen him do it for a long time," Bumgarner said. "I've got to face him the last few years and early in my career, too, and that's probably the best he's ever hit me. I mean, shoot, it would be hard to do much better. It is amazing."
2. Bumgarner's struggles continued
Since pitching a gem against the Nationals on July 23, things have been a struggle on the mound for Bumgarner.
In his five starts since, he has allowed 24 earned runs in 28 2/3 innings.
"I don't know," Bumgarner said when asked why he's struggled. "We're trying to figure it out. I thought I threw the ball better today, a little bit better than I have in the past few starts, but same results. Don't mean much. It is a good team there, and they're hot right now. They see lefties good, but that's no excuse. I'm not out there trying to give credit to other guys. I gotta find a way to do better."
Bumgarner had a five-pitch first inning and got through the second inning with just nine pitches, but things started spinning away from him in the third and fourth, when he threw 29 and 33 pitches, respectively.
3. The D-backs actually made a game of it
After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first and a 4-2 advantage in the third, the D-backs watched the Cardinals score six unanswered runs and seemingly put the game away, leading 8-4 in the eighth.
But one night after striking out three D-backs in the ninth inning, Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks didn't have it, and Arizona managed to get back in the game in the eighth.
Jake McCarthy led off the inning with a homer, and the D-backs collected three hits and drew a walk while scoring three to make it 8-7.
D-backs reliever Mark Melancon, though, was unable to retire any of the four batters he faced in the ninth inning, and Edwin Uceta allowed a grand slam to Paul DeJong and a three-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt as the Cardinals sent 11 to the plate and scored eight times to make it a laugher.
Not that anyone on the D-backs’ side of the field found any of it funny.
"It's a tough loss," Lovullo said. "It was very intense there. And in the eighth, we were very close to tying the game. But we've got to find a way to digest what happened, not let things kind of pile up on us. Get through the night, and we'll be ready to play again tomorrow morning."