Hudson, Curtis continue baffling struggle

D-backs' relief woes mount in frustrating loss

Hudson, Curtis continue baffling struggle

LOS ANGELES -- There was really nothing that could be said, no explanation that would be satisfactory after the D-backs' bullpen once again struggled, allowing five runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth in a 9-7 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night.

"It's frustrating," manager Chip Hale said. "I feel bad for the guys. They battled their hearts out."

After the D-backs scored seven runs in the top of the seventh to go up, 7-3, reliever Daniel Hudson took over on the mound to start the bottom half of the inning and things went bad quickly.

Andrew Toles led off with a single through the hole at second, the kind of seeing-eye hits that have plagued Hudson during his downfall.

Joc Pederson followed with a two-run homer and after Hudson walked Scott Van Slyke, his night was over.

In his last eight innings, Hudson has allowed 23 earned runs, a stunning departure from the dominance he displayed prior to that. The frustration has been evident in Hudson, who has tried everything to turn the tide.

"It's just a matter of him getting back," Hale said. "Obviously the deception is not there because guys are squaring up pretty decent pitches at times. He's been leaving some balls down the middle for sure. But they're taking some good pitches that are just off the plate so the deception is not there."

Left-hander Zac Curtis then came in to face the lefty-hitting Chase Utley and threw him a first-pitch breaking ball that Utley hit over the wall in right for a two-run homer. Curtis then allowed a double to Corey Seager before Hale took him out.

"Maybe if you ask him, he probably was," Curtis said when asked if Utley was looking for the breaking ball. "But I threw the pitch, I was confident in it. It's just the pitch he decided to swing at. I can't take it back now. Just have to move forward."

Curtis, who began the year in Class A, initially enjoyed success after his surprise call-up to the big leagues, but he has also struggled of late.

"You don't want to kick a guy when he's down," Hale said. "It's tough. He's having a hard time right now and we all feel for him and we're going to help him as best we can."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.