After ending the longest home win streak in franchise history, the Arizona Diamondbacks will continue their pursuit of an NL West title on the road.
The Diamondbacks, however, will have to open their six-game trip against another red-hot club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, on Monday night.
Arizona (85-62) won 15 in a row at Chase Field - the longest home win streak in the majors this season - before its rally Sunday fell short in a 7-6 defeat to San Diego. The Diamondbacks trailed 7-0 entering their half of the sixth inning.
The loss and San Francisco’s 8-1 win over the Dodgers (72-73) kept Arizona’s magic number at eight. The Diamondbacks own an 8 1/2-game lead over the Giants.
“You’d like to win them all but we didn’t today,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We push through. There’s a saying about playing 27 outs, playing to the end. It’s something that’s been preached for a while. It’s part of their character.”
The Diamondbacks, 16-3 in their last 19 and 7-2 in their last nine road games, will try to take that attitude into Los Angeles, which is 15-4 in its last 19 and has won eight of nine at home. The Dodgers were denied a fifth straight win with Sunday’s loss to end a 10-game road trip.
“More than anything it’s just get ready to play hard every day,” manager Don Mattingly said. “That’s my goal all year really and where we end up is where we end up as far as our record goes.”
Arizona has a 7-5 lead in the season series with Los Angeles but has won two of three in each of its two trips to Dodger Stadium.
Joe Saunders(notes) (10-12, 3.88 ERA) earned a win in his team’s most recent game there July 31 and is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his last three outings. He gave up three solo homers over six innings during a 5-3 win in Colorado on Wednesday.
“It was a battle, obviously. I wasn’t too pleased with the three solo home runs,” Saunders said after snapping a three-game road losing streak.
The former Los Angeles Angels pitcher is 1-3 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts against the Dodgers this season and has received two runs or fewer in each loss. The left-hander had lost three consecutive starts at Dodger Stadium before July 31.
The left-hander attempted to follow up those two home wins with another in Washington on Tuesday but had to pitch opposite Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg(notes). The Dodgers trailed 3-0 after Lilly’s five innings but rallied for a 7-3 victory.
“I made some mistakes at inopportune times,” Lilly told the team’s official website. “I felt like I was throwing the ball well. It’s nice when you (can come) out of that game with a win.”
Lilly is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his three starts against the Diamondbacks this season and earned the lone win at Dodger Stadium on July 29, allowing three runs and three hits over five innings.