Though losses have been rare of late for the Arizona Diamondbacks, each setback delivers another blow to their postseason chances.
Having had their three-game winning streak snapped, the Diamondbacks look to bounce back on Wednesday night when they continue their four-game road set with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After taking the series opener on Monday, future Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson could not help Arizona (79-78), which fell 7-4 on Tuesday. Though it was the Diamondbacks’ second loss in nine games, it dropped them three games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles with five remaining. The Dodgers beat San Diego 10-1 on Tuesday.
“Everybody is doing their job,” shortstop Stephen Drew told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site, “coming out and playing hard. We’ll see what happens.”
Despite three hits from Conor Jackson and a two-run homer and three RBIs from Chris Young, St. Louis (81-76), which won for the third time in 13 games, tagged Johnson for four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Ryan Ludwick’s three-run home run.
“If you’d have told this club we were going into the last week of the season in contention for an October spot, I think a lot of people wouldn’t have believed it,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “And a lot of people in our clubhouse would have felt good we were that competitive.”
Jackson is 9-for-15 in his last three games, and hitting .339 (19-for-59) with 12 RBIs in 17 career games versus St. Louis. Young is batting .350 (7-for-20) with two homers and seven RBIs in his last five contests overall.
Arizona turns to rookie and St. Louis native Max Scherzer (0-3, 3.00 ERA) as he makes his seventh start and first against the team he grew up supporting.
“This is where I grew up,” said the right-hander, who allowed three runs and seven hits while striking out eight in six innings of a 3-2 loss at Colorado on Friday. “I got into baseball because of the Cardinals.”
St. Louis counters with Adam Wainwright (10-3, 3.21), who is 4-0 in six starts since coming off the disabled list from a sprained right middle finger.
Wainwright allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of a 12-6 win over Chicago on Friday, but felt he could have thrown better.
“It wasn’t great, I was battling,” Wainwright told the Cardinals’ official Web site. “I just didn’t have good stuff today. I was able to make good pitches in certain situations to get out of some jams.”
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts versus the Diamondbacks, and allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-2 win over them on Sept. 2.
Ludwick, who has 35 homers and 106 RBIs during his breakout All-Star season, is hitting .381 with two home runs during his current seven-game hitting streak for St. Louis.
Felipe Lopez added three hits for the Cardinals on Tuesday, and is batting .366 with 15 RBIs in 38 games since joining the club after being released by Washington last month.