D-backs near innings record after loss to Dodgers
Arizona falls on homer in 11th, the club's 75th extra frame of season
LOS ANGELES -- They've played for over five months now, 144 games to be exact, and more innings than any team in baseball.
After all that time, and a walk-off loss on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, the D-backs are virtually right back where they started -- the .500 mark.
Dodgers rookie outfielder Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run homer off Josh Collmenter in the 11th inning to hand the D-backs a 5-3 setback and drop their record to 72-72, their first even mark since they were 1-1 on April 2.
At that time, being at .500 was not a big deal. Now, though, for a team that had hopes of winning the division, it's cause for frustration.
"It's not where we want to be," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think, as a team, we're not playing well and the record is reflective of that."
This was a game the D-backs felt they should have won, but two-out walks, a throwing error and another three wild pitches to add to their National League lead were too much to overcome.
Tuesday was the D-backs' 23rd extra-inning game, tops in the Majors. Arizona has played 75 extra innings this year, one shy of the Major League record set by the 1969 Twins.
D-backs starter Trevor Cahill pitched reasonably well, but once again control issues caused him problems, as the Dodgers capitalized on a walk and a throwing error by catcher Miguel Montero to take a 2-0 lead in the second.
"Defensively recently we haven't made the good clean plays we made earlier in the year, so it cost us," Gibson said.
The D-backs cut the deficit in half in the fourth when Montero singled home Paul Goldschmidt.
Arizona then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Gerardo Parra drew a leadoff walk and Didi Gregorius followed with a two-run homer to deep right.
The three runs were the most the D-backs had scored since putting up four against the Giants on Thursday. In the four games since, they had scored just five runs.
"We felt good, but you've got to tack on," Gibson said. "You've got to keep tacking on in this league. It's just something we haven't done. We're not swinging the bats good at all right now and we're paying for it."
Given the lead, Cahill could not make it stand up.
After easily retiring the first two hitters in the bottom of inning, he issued back-to-back walks to Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. Andre Ethier made the walks hurt when he doubled to right to score Ramirez and tie the game at 3.
"The guys I walked I even got ahead and maybe was trying to go for the strikeout a little too much. I don't know," Cahill said. "But I'd get to 3-2 and I would just try to throw my sinker over the middle, and it's nowhere close. It's kind of frustrating."
It certainly must be frustrating for the D-backs, who continue to try to get Cahill straightened out. The right-hander has had periods of effectiveness this year, but he inexplicably has gone into stretches where his release point varies and he loses a feel for the strike zone.
"I didn't feel great, by any means," he said. "I was just able to just kind of get through it. I felt like from the get-go I'd make one good pitch and make another pitch, and it felt like it came out the same and it wasn't anywhere close. So I knew it was going to be tough right away so I just kind of got through it and I'll work on it tomorrow."
While Cahill works on that, the D-backs will try and avoid falling under the .500 mark for the first time this year.
"If we play well, the record is going to be where we want it to be, and we're just flat out not playing well," Willie Bloomquist said. "That, to me, is the frustrating part more so than the record."
The walk-off win was the seventh of the year for the Dodgers, and it came on the first walk-off hit of Van Slyke's career.
"It feels good to get the game over with," Van Slyke said. "I was just looking for something to hit hard. It was a good changeup down and I was able to get the barrel to it."