D-backs tripped up by Dickey in defeat

D-backs tripped up by Dickey in defeat

D-backs tripped up by Dickey in defeat
NEW YORK -- Frustration was the prevailing mood in the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse Sunday afternoon.

Part of it came from trying -- mostly unsuccessfully -- to hit Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey's knuckleball in a 3-1 loss.

The rest is a result of finishing their road trip with a 5-5 mark after beginning it by winning four of the first five games.

The D-backs took three of four from the Marlins in Miami to open the trip and then won the first game against the Nationals in Washington.

From there, the wheels came off as they dropped the next two of that series before winning the first game against the Mets and dropping the final two.

"It's frustrating just to start a series winning the first game and then ending up losing the series," catcher Miguel Montero said. "It just [stinks]. It's just bad, it's a bad feeling."

Almost 30 games into the season, the D-backs find themselves with a 14-15 record. Not exactly where they thought they'd be after winning the National League West last year and making improvements to the team in the offseason.

"Obviously having road trips like this, especially when we play so well early, it's not good for us," infielder John McDonald said. "We need to win more games than that, especially when we played so well in Miami. We had opportunities to win a lot of the games that we lost. Obviously that's disappointing and for a team that wants to get to the postseason, we can't have trips like this."

Dickey had his knuckler dancing from the game's first pitch and the D-backs struggled to find a way to make solid contact.

"They were not getting good swings," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the D-backs. "And the ones when they did hit it, it was ground balls."

The D-backs were unable to muster a hit through the first 3 1/3 innings, and when they did have scoring chances in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, they did not capitalize.

Hitting with runners in scoring position has been a problem for the D-backs throughout the year.

"We haven't stepped up," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Again, we were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and they were 2-for-3. They didn't have a ton of opportunities themselves, but they out executed us in that aspect in the series."

Arizona starter Trevor Cahill did not pitch poorly, but he did make several mistakes that proved costly.

In the first, he had leadoff hitter Andres Torres down 0-2 and ended up walking him. Torres would come around to score later in the inning on a two-run single by Daniel Murphy.

That Murphy had a chance to swing the bat might be considered a mistake in itself. There were runners at second and third when he came up with two outs and while he's been swinging a hot bat, the hitter behind him, Ike Davis, has not.

Murphy wound up driving in both runs before Cahill got Davis to fly out to end the inning.

"It's kind of too early in the game," Cahill said about not pitching around Murphy. "I was just kind of going right after him, I didn't want to walk another guy. Maybe I should have, who knows? It always hurts when you walk the leadoff guy. I tried to battle out of it and I thought I made a pretty good pitch and [Murphy] was able to fight it off and get a single. He's been swinging a hot bat, so those things are going to happen."

The Mets increased their lead to 3-0 in the fourth, when Josh Thole singled home Davis.

Cahill hurt himself in that inning by walking Davis after retiring the first two hitters.

The mistakes were not limited to Cahill, though.

Center fielder Gerardo Parra made an ill-advised attempt to throw out Torres trying to go from first to third in the first. The throw allowed David Wright to move up to second, so when Murphy followed with a single, it scored two runs rather than one.

Then in the sixth, Arizona had runners on first and second with two outs and cleanup hitter Jason Kubel at the plate. Dickey, however, picked Parra off first to end the inning.

"I don't think we played a very good game today," Gibson said. "We hung in there. The guys didn't give. But when you're playing so many close games, it's just hard to make mistakes like that. That was hard to overcome with as well as Dickey was throwing today."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.