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D-backs unable to rebound from difficult start

Ross injured in first inning after error gives way to four runs

PHOENIX -- For the D-backs, Sunday was a day of losses.

They lost their hottest hitter to injury, they lost to the Mets, 9-5, and they lost ground in National League Wild Card chase.

Full Game Coverage

PHOENIX -- For the D-backs, Sunday was a day of losses.

They lost their hottest hitter to injury, they lost to the Mets, 9-5, and they lost ground in National League Wild Card chase.

Full Game Coverage

Not a happy Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

Things started off on the wrong foot for the D-backs in the first inning as a rare error by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt opened the door for the Mets to score four runs.

"An uncharacteristic mistake by Goldy," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

The D-backs fell to 5 1/2 games in back of the Reds for the final NL Wild Card spot and their road back into the hunt got harder with the loss of outfielder Cody Ross.

Ross suffered a dislocated right hip when he tripped while running to first base in the first inning. While he was still being evaluated at the hospital following the game, it seems safe to assume he's seen his last action of 2013. Gibson said doctors put the hip back into place and that surgery was a possibility.

"It wrecked everybody seeing it," shortstop Cliff Pennington said of the emotion of seeing Ross leave the field on the back of a motorized cart. "And you know it's going to be an extended period of time."

Ross was batting .405 with three homers and 10 RBIs since July 26.

Arizona starter Zeke Spruill pitched his way into trouble in the first Sunday as he walked a pair of batters in loading the bases with two outs.

Mike Baxter then hit a grounder down the first-base line and Goldschmidt had the ball skip over his glove and down the line as all three runners scored.

"I killed us in the first right there," Goldschmidt said. "I just missed it. I was in position, right there, and it's a play I make every time and today I didn't. Obviously it hurt us, it hurt the bullpen, we had to have the bullpen in early. Obviously Zeke had to come out early through no fault of his own. It's not how you want to start it and as a player you don't want to make the error."

Anthony Recker followed the error with an RBI double to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.

"I just didn't make the pitch to the next batter," Spruill said.

Spruill allowed six hits and walked two while lasting only three innings.

"I was struggling with command a little bit," he said.

Spruill will likely work out those issues with Triple-A Reno as Gibson made it sound postgame like injured starter Trevor Cahill, who went seven innings in a rehab start for Reno on Sunday, would be activated to make his start in turn.

"They were not where they needed to be," Gibson said of Spruill's pitch location. "He threw the ball virtually down the middle. We know where not to throw it. That's not a good place to be."

The D-backs battled back for a run in the bottom of the first, and after the Mets increased their lead to 5-1 in the third, Aaron Hill made things interesting with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning to pull Arizona to within 5-4. Hill had four RBIs on the game.

Mets starter Jon Niese, though, was able to settle in and keep the D-backs off the board before departing after the sixth inning.

"I thought he had great stuff today," Mets catcher Recker said. "They scored all their runs off him on two really good swings by Aaron Hill on pitches that weren't in bad places. Other than that, they didn't do any damage against him, really."

Whereas the Mets were able to get some shutdown innings from their staff, the D-backs bullpen was not.

Pinch-hitter Andrew Brown hit a three-run homer off Will Harris to increase New York's lead to 8-4.

"The bullpen had a tough series," Gibson said. "We battled back, but the bullpen was unable to shut them down. We had our own opportunities to come back again, but we didn't get the job done there. It'll be tough to regroup, but we have to because we have a good team coming to town in the Orioles."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.


Arizona Diamondbacks, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Cody Ross, Zeke Spruill