PHOENIX -- For the sixth time in a week, the D-backs suffered what can only be described as a punch-to-the-gut loss.On Sunday, it was a six-run rally by the Braves in the ninth inning that led to a 9-5 loss at Chase Field.With the loss, the D-backs remain 2 1/2
PHOENIX -- For the sixth time in a week, the D-backs suffered what can only be described as a punch-to-the-gut loss.
On Sunday, it was a six-run rally by the Braves in the ninth inning that led to a 9-5 loss at Chase Field.
With the loss, the D-backs remain 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Rockies in the National League West. The Dodgers, who beat the Rockies on Sunday, are a half-game behind Colorado. The D-backs open a four-game series at Coors Field on Monday.
While Arizona fans are still trying to digest what has happened to the hometown team over this week, the players in the clubhouse and their manager, Torey Lovullo, can only look forward.
"It's extremely frustrating, yes," Lovullo said. "But the sun is going to come up tomorrow, and we're going to head up to Colorado, and this team will be ready to give their best effort as they have been."
Their best effort Sunday resulted in a four-run rally in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. The Braves cut it to 4-3 in the eighth, and the D-backs turned to Brad Boxberger for the save in the ninth.
After a pair of singles to start the ninth, Ender Inciarte blasted a three-run homer to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.
It got worse from there as Yoan Lopez, Arizona's No. 18 prospect, making his big league debut, allowed another pair of homers for three more runs.
It was ugly, and it was clear that it stung everyone on the roster, but Lovullo worked the room postgame to try to get the team's attention focused to what's next.
The D-backs have four games at Coors Field and then three against the Astros in Houston. All told, of the 19 games they have left, seven are against the Rockies and three are with the Dodgers.
"We are one week away from being right where we want to be," Lovullo said. "So that's what I'll focus on. We have to do a lot of things correctly, but this team can get hot, and in a week, we could be having a totally different conversation."
Last weekend at Dodger Stadium, the D-backs lost three consecutive 3-2 games. Thursday and Saturday, the Braves beat Arizona in 10 innings before finishing things off with Sunday's rally.
"We control what happens," said left-hander Robbie Ray, who allowed two runs over six innings. "We play Colorado for four, and then we have another three against them, I believe, later in the year. We're really in control of everything. Going in there only 2 1/2 back. It's a big series. We've just got to show up and do our job.
NOT CHANGING EVERYTHING
With late-inning relievers like Archie Bradley and Boxberger struggling, Lovullo has been asked repeatedly about changing how he handles the end of games. Other than using left-hander Andrew Chafin to get the first batter of the ninth if it's a lefty and moving Bradley into a somewhat lower-leverage role temporarily, Lovullo has held firm.
"I'm going to do the same exact thing that I've done every single day," Lovullo said. "I'm going to follow the same process that I follow. I might mix the cards a little bit here and there, but I feel like in this time I need to be as consistent as possible. I can't pull things off the wall and throw them around. It's going to confuse the guys. I'm going to continue to believe in this group, continue to support this group and dust them off as I would if they were one of my very own children and push them on."
Paul Goldschmidt's third-inning walk was the 651st of his career, moving him past Luis Gonzalez and into sole possession of first in Arizona franchise history. Goldschmidt also walked in the seventh.
HE SAID IT
"If we go in and have a good series against [the Rockies] here coming up the next four days -- the Dodgers whatever they do -- it could look a lot different in four days. We're trying to take it one game at a time like we always do, and we're going to come out ready to go tomorrow." -- D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed
The D-backs open a crucial four-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night with right-hander Zack Godley (14-8, 4.51 ERA) on the mound. Godley is returning from the paternity leave list without missing a start as his wife, Autumn, gave birth to the couple's first child. Godley has had success in his career at Coors Field, going 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts. The Rockies will counter with German Marquez (11-9, 4.05). The game will air free on MLB.TV at 5:40 p.m. MST.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.