100th Homeruns Aside, Arizona Diamondbacks Lose Momentum in Weekend Series
On Friday night, Justin Upton cracked his 100th homerun (not long before his older brother, B.J., accomplished the same feat) in a 4-2 win to kick off the series. From there, the D-Backs' four-game hot streak met a dampening end in the form of two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, the Phillies' right-handed ace. Still, Saturday's 0-3 loss must have been easier to bear than the 4-5 defeat on Sunday night, cinched by Ryan Howard's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.
Ian Kennedy pitched six innings on Friday, allowing seven hits and two runs. The performance got the job done, and that's about all. Takashi Saito and David Hernandez each threw an inning before closer J.J. Putz chalked up his 20th save in 23 tries.
In addition to Upton's homer, Jason Kubel recorded his 23rd home run this season in the ninth. The D-backs' two other runs came in the fourth with a Paul Goldschimidt sacrifice fly and a singly by Chris Johnson to allow Upton to score. The win was Arizona's fourth in a row -- but the streak ended there. An anticlimactic finale to the momentum the team gained sweeping the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Saturday, left-handed veteran Joe Saunders faced Philadelphia's finest: Roy Halladay. The pitcher struck out five in seven innings and the under-pressure Snakes managed to get just four hits all night. Even when Halladay seemed to struggle with finding the zone, D-backs batters came out empty-handed.
Saunders pitched into the seventh, but left with two outs remaining after giving up two singles to Nate Schierholtz and pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton. He allowed two runs on six hits before reliever Brad Zeigler took over on the mound.
Stephen Drew claimed two of the D-Backs four hits that night, one of the only players from Arizona to muster anything against Halladay's spot-on performance. The loss cost Arizona some crucial ground in the NL West race as the San Francisco Giants advanced three games on them in the standings.
Sunday started off looking like Arizona would be able to save the series despite Saturday's loss. Three D-Backs went deep, including Chris Johnson and Stephen Drew, who hit a back-to-back pair in the second.
Arizona maintained a 4-3 lead into the bottom on the eighth, but in a strange turn of events managed to lose not only the game, but also the series and two players in the final minutes of the game.