After fighting their way back into the playoff race, the Arizona Diamondbacks are playing themselves out of it in the final week of the regular season.
The Diamondbacks hope to do their part to avoid being eliminated from postseason contention Thursday afternoon as they conclude a four-game road set with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After winning Monday’s series opener at Busch Stadium for its third straight victory, Arizona (79-79) lost 7-4 Tuesday, then stranded 11 runners in falling 4-2 to the Cardinals on Wednesday.
The Diamondbacks’ latest setback coupled with Los Angeles’ second straight victory over San Diego on Wednesday, cut the Dodgers’ magic number for clinching the NL West to one game. A loss by Arizona or a Los Angeles win later Thursday would eliminate the Diamondbacks from playoff contention.
“Until there is an asterisk by your name, you’ve got to play each game and win each game,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin, whose team is 7-3 since losing 16 of 21 to fall out of the NL West lead it held most of the season.
Stephen Drew and Conor Jackson each had three hits Wednesday for Arizona, which had the bases loaded twice but failed to score. Despite the loss, Drew continues to swing the bat well, hitting .404 (21-for-52) in his last 12 games. Jackson, meanwhile, is 12-for-20 in his last four contests.
“I ain’t got it yet,” Reynolds said. “Talk to me when I get it.”
Doug Davis (6-8, 3.25 ERA), who hasn’t factored in the decision of his last four starts but has a 2.59 ERA during that span, takes the ball for Arizona. He allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-3 win at Colorado on Saturday.
The left-hander is 4-5 with a 4.79 ERA in 13 starts against St. Louis and allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3 win over Cardinals on Sept. 3.
Skip Schumaker and Adam Kennedy each had two hits Wednesday for St. Louis (82-76), which was eliminated from the postseason Tuesday and kept Albert Pujols, Troy Glaus and Ryan Ludwick out of the starting lineup in its latest victory.
“You can play that kind of lineup if you have a guaranteed contract for next year,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “The three guys we rested were on fumes.”
Pujols, hitting .350 and likely to finish behind Atlanta’s Chipper Jones for the NL batting title, is batting .323 (10-for-31) with five doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs against Davis.
Joel Pineiro (6-7, 5.21) tries to avoid ending his season with three straight losses when he takes the ball for the Cardinals. He gave up three earned runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-4 loss at Chicago on Saturday, allowing the Cubs to clinch the NL Central.
The right-hander allowed four runs in five innings, but didn’t factor in the decision of an 8-6 loss against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 1 in his only previous start versus Arizona.