D-backs drop heartbreaker to Dodgers

D-backs drop heartbreaker to Dodgers

D-backs drop heartbreaker to Dodgers
PHOENIX -- They come up with big hits when they need to. They get key contributions from unlikely sources. And they're never out of a game, no matter the deficit.

That was the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011. In 2012, that is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who put those traits on display by staging a pair of late-inning rallies to deal the D-backs a heartbreaking 8-7 loss on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

The D-backs held leads of 5-0 and 6-1 before watching the Dodgers tie things up with a five-run seventh inning.

"We've got momentum going, and the guys are feeling good and we're playing good baseball and we're getting wins," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "But I go back to stay humble and get back to work. There's a ton of baseball to be played."

It looked like the D-backs would recover from the disappointment of blowing a five-run lead when Lyle Overbay smacked a homer in the bottom of the eighth to once again put the D-backs on top, 7-6.

Arizona closer J.J. Putz, however, was unable to put the Dodgers away in the ninth. Putz got leadoff hitter Tony Gwynn to pop out before issuing back-to-back walks. He then struck out Andre Ethier, and the D-backs were one out from a win.

Instead, Ivan De Jesus Jr. blasted a pitch over Chris Young's head in center to score a pair and give the Dodgers an 8-7 lead.

"He put a good swing on it," Putz said. "I tried to get ahead with a fastball, it kind of leaked back over the middle, and he put a good swing on it. It was down, it was just out over the middle of the plate and all you can do is say he put a good swing on it."

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was more concerned by the two walks.

"He walked two guys," Gibson said. "He gets the leadoff guy, then walks two guys. We get through Ethier, and he totally misses his spot by a large margin to De Jesus. They're too good of a team to do that to."

The first-place Dodgers hold an 11 1/2-game lead over Arizona in the National League West, and they certainly have a familiar look.

"I think we got a little bit of a taste of that last year, when we were doing that, so we've got to find a way to get on that ship and ride it out a little bit," Overbay said of the way the Dodgers are playing. "You can tell which team was on a roll."

It is not the D-backs, who have dropped six straight home series, the longest such streak in franchise history.

To their credit, the D-backs did make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth when they put runners on first and third with one out for cleanup hitter Jason Kubel.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, though, got Kubel to ground into a 4-6-3 double play -- thanks to a great turn from shortstop Dee Gordon to end the game.

"It's kind of frustrating," Overbay said. "But, like I said, we just couldn't get it done. We had our chances. We battled in the ninth we just couldn't get that tying run across."

Whatever mistakes were made by the D-backs in the ninth, the seventh was the frame that really did them in.

Brad Ziegler started the seventh for the D-backs in relief of Trevor Cahill, who deserved a better fate, and the right-hander could not retire any of the three hitters he faced.

Craig Breslow then came on, and he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced.

By the time Bryan Shaw finally was able to put a stop to the inning, the Dodgers had scored five runs, only three of which were earned thanks to errors by Ziegler and third baseman Josh Bell.

Ziegler's error came when he tried to get the lead runner at second rather than Gordon, who laid down a sacrifice bunt. Bell bobbled what looked to be an inning-ending double-play grounder.

"In the seventh inning, we brought two relievers in and we didn't any outs from them," Gibson said. "On Gordon's ball, we had on out, we tried to make a great play. We had a five-run lead, you always take the out. We didn't do that. That's not playing good enough in that situation against a team that's way too good and way too opportunistic not to capitalize on our mistakes."

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.