PHOENIX (AP) - An off day couldn't come at a better time for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
``We just played a 16-game span, 16 straight games,' Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said after Arizona's 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. ``I don't think we felt like we were in real good synch, certainly at the end of that streak.'
The Diamondbacks, who have Thursday off before opening a 10-game eastern road trip with a four-game wraparound series in Miami, have lost seven of their past nine games.
On Wednesday, Arizona's struggles could be blamed on the left arm of Phillies starter Cole Hamels.
Willie Bloomquist led off the game with a double to left but Hamels (3-1) then retired the next 18 batters before briefly running into trouble in the seventh.
``He's got 17 different pitches and he throws them all for strikes,' Bloomquist said.
Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill allowed a run in the first, then matched Hamels zero for zero until unraveling in the sixth.
Juan Pierre singled, Placido Polanco walked and Cahill's second wild pitch of the game allowed a run to score. Hunter Pence hit an RBI single that finished Cahill, Carlos Ruiz had an RBI single off Craig Breslow and Hamels looped a two-run single for a 6-0 lead.
``Our story today was we were unable to stop that sixth inning,' Gibson said. ``Trevor got two guys on and Breslow came in and couldn't get it cut off.'
Cahill (1-2) gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
``I just couldn't put anyone away when I had to and couldn't make the big pitch in the sixth inning,' Cahill said. ``They did a pretty good job of fighting stuff off. When I got ahead they kept battling. They had a couple of hard outs and it seemed like I couldn't get any swings and misses.'
The Diamondbacks finally got to Hamels in the seventh.
Consecutive one-out singles by Aaron Hill, Justin Upton and Jason Kubel ended Hamels' shutout bid. Hamels walked Cody Ransom to reload the bases and Paul Goldschmidt hit what appeared to be an inning-ending, double-play grounder to shortstop, but second baseman Pete Orr dropped a toss and let a run score.
Hamels induced another grounder off the bat of A.J. Pollock, which did lead to a double play.
``He's throwing 2-0 changeups and locating,' Gibson said. ``That's pretty tough. We knew it was going to be a dog fight.'
Polanco went 3 for 3 with two walks and scored twice. Ruiz also had three hits for the Phillies.
Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the first when Polanco singled, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a sharp single by Pence.
NOTES: Phillies 1B Ty Wigginton had a pinch-hit single in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Kubel has hit safely in nine straight and Hill has reached base in 14 games in a row. . Phillies RHP Michael Schwimer, recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley when Michael Stutes was placed on the 15-day disabled list, made his season debut in the ninth. ... The Diamondbacks failed to hit a home run at home against the Phillies for the first time in their past 18 games. ... The Chase Field roof was closed for just the second time in 13 home dates with hazy, overcast skies and 90-degree temperatures outside. ... LHP Joe Saunders will take the mound for the Diamondbacks in Miami and face RHP Carlos Zambrano on Friday. Saunders is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA, having allowed three earned runs - four overall - in 21 innings across his first three starts.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved