D-backs' home woes continue in loss to Giants

D-backs' home woes continue in loss to Giants

D-backs' home woes continue in loss to Giants
PHOENIX -- The D-backs' search for any type of advantage at home will have to wait.

Including Sunday's 7-3 loss to the Giants in the rubber match, the D-backs have lost seven of their last eight home games and 12 of their last 15 games at Chase Field since winning the first four home games of the season. In all, the D-backs (15-20) are 7-12 at Chase Field and 8-8 on the road.

"As a team, we need to get moving in the right direction," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Last year, I think we were in a similar situation. I think we were 15-22. We lost five one-run games in a row. We are not doing that now. We are not playing good baseball. We need to right that part first."

It appears that the D-backs' three-city road trip against the Dodgers, Rockies and Royals that starts Monday could not come at a better time. Overall, Sunday's loss was the ninth defeat in the club's last 12 games.

Including the series loss to the Cardinals earlier in the week, the D-backs have now lost five consecutive home series for the first time since 2006.

"It always stings when you lose like this, but it's up to us to change the atmosphere," Gibson said. "We know what it feels like to win. This is the time when you have to come together. You can't check out. We all know it's not going to be easy."

D-backs starter Joe Saunders should shoulder some of the blame for Sunday's loss. The left-hander was charged with six runs on 10 hits in five innings of work. By contrast, Giants starter Barry Zito gave up only three runs on five hits in six innings for the victory.

"If you look at it, he's actually pitched pretty good this entire season," Gibson said of Zito. "We had our opportunities."

Gibson is right. The D-backs stranded six runners on base. They finished 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

As for Saunders, he pitched two scoreless innings to start the game but that trend ended in the third. The Giants scored two runs in that frame to take a 2-1 advantage and tacked on two runs in each of the next two innings. The Giants led 7-3 after seven innings and scored four runs in the game with two outs.

"It's pretty frustrating and you can see the frustration on everybody right now," Saunders said. "We are going through a bad stretch. It's frustrating in every aspect. We just have to get through it."

Coming off what Gibson considered one of the team's poorest games of the season, the Arizona offense was limited to only five hits Sunday.

There were, however, a few highlights.

D-backs left fielder Jason Kubel drove home second baseman Ryan Roberts with a single in the second inning to push the home team ahead, 1-0. The D-backs added two runs in the fourth inning on RBI doubles by A.J. Pollock and Kubel to cut the Giants' lead to 4-3, but they could not muster much offense against the Giants' pitching.

"I had to battle today," Zito said. "I was encouraged I was able to close the door on them when we scored again. They were fighting to get back into the game. Kubel had a big day."

Kubel finished 3-for-4 but chose not to focus on his trio of hits after the game. Instead, the outfielder spoke about how resilient his teammates are and what it takes to get back into the win column.

"We know what kind of team we have and where we're going to be," Kubel said. "We'll win games whereever we are at and play the game the way we know we are capable of."

The D-backs, who finished 51-30 at home last season, will return to Chase Field on May 21 for the first of three games against the Dodgers followed by a weekend series against the Brewers.

There is still time for the club to regain a home-field advantage. It has one day to forget about what happened against the Giants.

"It's a combination of everything," Gibson said. "We didn't play good defense, overall. We didn't pitch very well. We didn't swing the bats very well."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.