Club surges in Wild Card rankings during 13-game stretch
By Kaelen Jones
PHOENIX -- All good things must come to an end.
The D-backs' club-record 13-game winning streak -- a stretch during which they swept National League West foes the Giants, Dodgers (twice) and Rockies -- came to an end Friday night in a 10-6 loss to the Padres.
During the run, the D-backs surged six games ahead of the Rockies in the NL Wild Card race, and loosened the Dodgers' tight grip on the division lead. All the while they asserted themselves as perhaps the most worthy foe to challenge Los Angeles in the postseason.
D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb didn't hesitate to credit San Diego. If Arizona had grown into a giant to be feared during its streak, the Padres, perched next-to-last in the NL West, served as a giant slayer Friday evening.
"It was a good streak," Lamb said. "But like I said, they're a good, young team. We've been there before, and they play really hard."
Friday's result was disappointing, but it didn't appear to damage the overall confidence of the club.
"I think that the first couple innings we were [experiencing] maybe a little of a hangover after the day off, which speaks back to [how it] takes the guys a little bit of time to get into a rhythm after the day off," manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's to be expected."
Before the game, Lovullo said there was a tangible energy he could feel around his team, not only since starting the streak, but over the course of the season. The run, if anything, offered an injection of belief.
"There's an incredible energy that's building up to the game, and then a postgame energy that allows us to get ready for the next day," Lovullo said.
Down 8-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the D-backs began cutting into the Padres' advantage -- first on Rey Fuentes' two-run, pinch-hit homer.
Then in the sixth, Lamb doubled in a run; J.D. Martinez, for the 19th time in a D-backs uniform, homered to score two more; Brandon Drury doubled in another run. As quick as lightning, Arizona came within two runs of tying the contest.
"Offensively, we did a great job," Lovullo said. "We stayed with it. We closed up that gap really good."
The type of fight Lamb said he saw in the scrappy, young Padres squad across the diamond resembles the same energy Lamb feels Arizona is able to unlock at just about any time, as though it's sewn into the club's DNA.
"Ever since I've been here, we've been good at never quitting," he said. "We play nine innings. Even when the winning percentage wasn't that great, we still battled every single inning. It's what this team does. We're down, we're up -- we're always taking quality at-bats. That didn't really surprise me. It was just unfortunate we weren't able to score enough runs."
Nonetheless, one blip over the course of a historic stretch -- a record-breaking run that shattered a mark set between June 18-30, 2003; four consecutive sweeps for the first time in D-backs history; the third-most wins over an 83-game span in franchise history -- isn't worrisome.
"They definitely deserved to win this one tonight, and we've got another one tomorrow," Lamb said. "Hopefully, we can start a new streak."
Kaelen Jones is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.