D-backs' 22nd straight road loss ties record

June 17th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 1943 Philadelphia A’s and 1963 New York Mets have company -- and it isn’t the welcomed kind.

On Wednesday night, the D-backs suffered their 22nd straight loss away from Chase Field, tying the aforementioned A’s and Mets for the most consecutive road losses. This entire stretch has been, in a word, rough. The latest loss, a 13-7 slugfest with the Giants at Oracle Park defined by five home runs allowed and three crooked innings, was an especially brutal affair.

“This is obviously nothing that we ever expected, nothing that we’re proud of,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “We can’t reverse anything that’s happened over the past 40-plus days. We gotta find a way to win a baseball game tomorrow.”

Given how the night unfolded, it’s easy to forget that Arizona threw the first punch, aided by the help of a little good fortune.

Josh Rojas beat the shift and slapped a ball down the left-field line, then barely legged out a double. Ketel Marte followed up with a slicing liner that left fielder LaMonte Wade Jr. overplayed for a two-base error and a run. Eduardo Escobar joined the fun by driving in Marte with a double. Through one half-inning, Arizona had a two-run lead.

But as Tuesday night's stunning loss -- and so many others during this stretch -- have proved, leads are not safe. And it only took three batters to undo Arizona’s early cushion on Wednesday.

Facing Merrill Kelly in the first inning, Wade Jr. singled and stole second, Mike Yastrzemski drew a walk and Buster Posey sent them all home with a three-run blast. Just like that, the lead was gone, and Arizona wouldn’t lead the rest of the way.

Before the first inning ended, Kelly would throw 47 pitches, tied for the most any pitcher has thrown in the first inning this season.

Kelly’s night was over after just three innings, having fallen victim to San Francisco’s notoriously pesky and picky lineup. As Kelly walked off the field, he took a piece of gum out of his mouth and flung it onto the ground, an appropriate summary of a frustrating evening.

San Francisco, on the other hand, continued to pour it on. Four runs in the fourth inning. Five more in the fifth inning. Steven Duggar, Wade Jr, Wilmer Flores and Brandon Belt homered. At one point, Arizona trailed 13-2. Still, the D-backs didn’t go down without a (brief) fight.

Down 11 runs, they mounted a rally in the sixth, beginning with a solo homer from Asdrúbal Cabrera. With the help of a throwing error by Giants lefty Conner Menez, Arizona plated five runs in the frame.

But alas, the D-backs could not harness the comeback magic San Francisco unleashed just one night prior, failing to plate any more runs after that sixth-inning outburst.

After Wednesday's loss, the D-backs are staring particularly dubious history right in its face. Should they lose in Thursday's finale, they will have sole possession of the record for most consecutive road losses in a single season in the Modern Era (since 1900).

Zac Gallen, who will be activated from the injured list to make his first start since May 7, will do all he can to help, but he’ll be on a pitch limit. There’s also the reality that he’ll be attempting to shake off any accumulated rust during his injury recovery against the National League’s best team.

The D-backs' skid has now landed them in the worst kind of historic stretch. They’ll have one last shot to avoid standing alone.

“I feel bad for me and my teammates because I know we’re working hard,” Cabrera said. “I know we try our best all the time, but for some reason, we’re in this situation right now.”