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D-backs can't hold early lead in nightcap vs. Mets

NEW YORK -- From the manager's office to different corners of the clubhouse, the frustration was evident following a 4-2 loss to the Mets in Game 2 of Sunday's doubleheader.

The D-backs' bats are cold -- that much is clear. How or when they'll heat back up again remains a mystery for now. If a return home is the answer, the close to this six-game road trip has come at the right time. 

"We scored 11 runs on this trip the last six games," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're in a funk. We're not swinging the bats well at all. We didn't really give ourselves much of a chance. Our pitching was pretty decent. You can't expect to win every game 2-1."

Arizona's offense continued the malaise it displayed in Game 1- and through this trip - in the nightcap. After an error by New York second baseman Daniel Murphy bailed out Arizona's offense in the D-backs' 2-1 win earlier in the day, the D-backs didn't catch such a lucky break in Game 2.

Over their two games Sunday, the D-backs went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. While their pitchers have done their best to keep the team in games in this trying stretch, Arizona's offense hasn't backed them up.

Zeke Spruill, called up from Triple-A Reno to start the second game Sunday, was the latest pitcher to see that firsthand.

Over 5 1/3 innings, the right-hander surrendered three runs on 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Spruill had been pitching well in the Minors. In his last two starts, the 24-year-old was 2-0 with nine strikeouts over 13 1/3 innings.

Yet in his third Major League start on Sunday, Spruill couldn't quite continue that success.

"When I got here, I just wanted to do exactly what I was doing down there," Spruill said. "Just keep the same tempo, try to throw strikes, mix up pitches."

The D-backs could only give him two runs to work with.

Aaron Hill, who left the game for precautionary reasons after fouling a ball off his ankle, led off the second with a single, and Martin Prado drove him in with a triple. Prado then scored on Cody Ross' RBI groundout to shortstop to put Arizona up, 2-0.

The Mets sliced the D-backs' lead in half in the bottom of the inning on Daisuke Matsuzaka's broken-bat RBI single into left field. Bobby Abreu's RBI double in the fifth tied the game at 2, and Ruben Tejada's pinch-hit single in the sixth put the Mets up 3-2.

After having only two hits against 24-year-old Rafael Montero in Game 1, Arizona managed just three against Matsuzaka, who's been pitching out of the bullpen for the Mets and made a spot-start Sunday for the doubleheader.

"It's a tremendous lift to everybody," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We all know he wanted to pitch, he wanted to start, and to have come in and do the job he did when he has not been lengthened out basically at all, it shows the kind of heart he's got."

Arizona had a chance to tie it up in the seventh. With one out, Tuffy Gosewisch doubled to left field, but Ender Inciarte fouled out and A.J. Pollock flied out to right to waste the opportunity.

"That's this whole road trip," Paul Goldschmidt said. "We didn't really score runs any game. We were fortunate the pitching was good really every game. Two of those games we were able to win."

Gibson said offense simply isn't coming too easily for his hitters right now. Miguel Montero said the D-backs might be trying to do too much at the plate. Goldschmidt said he couldn't identify a consistent trend through the team's at-bats, but if there was an easy fix, the struggles would've already been corrected.

There might not be a concrete answer to the D-backs' hitting woes right now. They can only hope it turns around soon.

"The guys are busting their tails, they're working on stuff," Gibson said. "It didn't pay off in the games."

Chris Iseman is a contributor to
Read More: Arizona Diamondbacks, Zeke Spruill, Martin Prado