The Arizona Diamondbacks’ inconsistency at the plate is a big reason they have been unable to open a comfortable lead in the weak NL West.
The division leaders look to bounce back from a lopsided loss when they play the deciding game of their home series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon.
One day after winning 8-6 over St. Louis on Monday, Arizona (70-68) fell 8-2 to the Cardinals for its eighth loss in 11 games. The Diamondbacks now hold a 1 1/2-game lead in the West over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat San Diego on Tuesday.
“We knew it would be a battle,” third baseman Mark Reynolds told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “We’ll see what happens. That’s what makes it fun.”
While the Diamondbacks have scored 24 runs in their last three victories, they have totaled 19 runs during their last eight defeats. Stephen Drew, who hit for the cycle Monday, went 0-for-4 Tuesday while Adam Dunn and David Eckstein each drove in a run for Arizona.
“Our focus has to continue to be on us and we just have to play better,” said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, whose pitching staff has allowed 28 runs in its last four games, all at home.
Dunn is batting .279 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 20 games since being traded from Cincinnati to Arizona. Eckstein, the former Cardinal and 2006 World Series MVP, meanwhile, is 3-for-8 in two games since being acquired from Toronto on Sunday.
Arizona won’t have it easy against St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse (13-6, 3.89 ERA), who despite having lost his last three decisions, is trying to match a career high for victories.
Lohse, though, is 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA over his last five outings, but allowed two runs and seven hits while striking out six in eight innings of a 3-2 loss to Houston on Friday in which he failed to earn a decision for the second straight start.
“I felt like I was in control all night,” said Lohse, who allowed a two-run homer to tie the game in the seventh inning Friday. “I happened to make one bad pitch and it cost us the lead.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in four career starts versus Arizona.
The Diamondbacks counter with Doug Davis (6-8, 4.59), who tries for his second straight win after allowing two runs and eight hits in five innings of a 9-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
The left-hander is 4-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 12 starts against St. Louis (75-64), which snapped a four-game losing streak Monday.
Troy Glaus went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run, while Yadier Molina and Felipe Lopez also homered Tuesday for the Cardinals, who have connected for seven home runs in their last two contests and are 5 1/2 games back of Milwaukee in the NL wild-card race.
“There’s no sports writer, no fan that’s telling me we’re out of this thing,” Tuesday’s winning pitcher Adam Wainwright said.
Molina has homered in consecutive games and is batting .380 (19-for-50) with nine RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak.