D-backs drop finale on walk-off single in ninth

D-backs drop finale on walk-off single in ninth

D-backs drop finale on walk-off single in ninth
PHILADELPHIA -- Winning games like Sunday's are the kind the D-backs would really like to have to keep pace in the tight race for the National League West title.

After starting their important 10-game road trip with four victories, Arizona faltered against Philadelphia for the second straight game on Sunday. The bullpen, which had been rock solid of late, blew a late lead in a 5-4 walk-off defeat, dropping the D-backs to 55-53 as they head across the state for four games against the resurgent Pirates.

"They just out-executed us when it counted," manager Kirk Gibson said of the Phillies (49-59). "They had a lot of pressure on us all day. A lot more pressure than we did."

Holding a 4-3 lead in the eighth, the tide turned on a perfect storm of well-placed infield hits, wild pitches and a couple of mistakes. Arizona's loss culminated in a bases-loaded single by Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in the bottom of the ninth.

Right-hander Josh Collmenter gave up a single to Juan Pierre to lead off the ninth. Pierre advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and reached third on a single by Laynce Nix. Collmenter intentionally walked Utley to load the bases for Howard, who had been mired in a slump.

"Before he left the dugout I told him, 'The pitcher's the one who's in trouble. Make sure you see the ball and slow down,'" Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of his left-handed slugger. Working with a 2-1 count, Collmenter threw a fastball inside, which Howard lined to right field to win the game for the Phillies.

"It was a lack of execution on my part," said Collmenter, who fell to 3-3 on the season. "Bad pitch to Pierre and pitches that probably weren't in enough to the other guys. They put the bat on the ball and made some things happen."

Right-hander David Hernandez got the first two outs in the eighth before John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown hit back-to-back infield singles. Brown's single was laced off Hernandez's right leg and bounced toward the first base line. The pitcher tried to make a play, but his throw to first hit Brown and bounced away just long enough for Mayberry to score on a close play at the plate.

Both Hernandez and catcher Henry Blanco left with injuries sustained on the play. No X-rays were taken on Hernandez, who said he was just sore, while Blanco said he might have some ligament damage in his left thumb.

Hernandez stayed in the game for one more batter. After throwing a wild pitch, he gave up another infield single to Erik Kratz. Takashi Saito then came in to get the final out.

"I don't really think any ball was really hit necessarily hard," Hernandez said. "It was three infield singles. I don't even think I have three infield singles given up in my career. Sometimes you've just got to be lucky. They put the ball in play and good things happened for them today."

Sunday's loss came despite three home runs and another solid performance from a D-backs starting pitcher. Trevor Cahill allowed just three runs on six hits over seven innings before making way for the bullpen.

Chris Johnson and Stephen Drew hit back-to-back homers off Philadelphia's Cliff Lee in the second inning to give the D-backs an early 3-0 lead. Johnson's was a two-run home run that he crushed deep into the left-field seats.

For Johnson, it was his third homer in just six games since Arizona acquired him from Houston one week ago. In that span, he is 8-for-21 with 10 RBIs. Drew's homer, which landed just over the wall in dead center field, was his first since June 29, 2011.

The Phillies got a couple runs back in the bottom half and Chase Utley tagged Cahill for a game-tying solo homer in the fifth. But Cahill retired eight straight after that, allowing his team to retake a 4-3 lead on an opposite-field homer from Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth inning, his third in the last six games.

A victory would have marked the D-backs first series win in Philadelphia in more than five years.

"You play close games here in Philly," said right fielder Justin Upton, who went 3-for-4. "All of our games were fairly close. They can go either way. I think we played well. One mistake, a close call at the plate and the next thing you know it's a tie ballgame and it can go either way."

It didn't go Arizona's way on this day, and the club left for Pittsburgh on a losing note.

"We're going to a new setting tomorrow, so hopefully we can forget about this and kinda just start over," Cahill said. "Tough loss and some things just didn't get our way. Those things will test us and hopefully we can bounce back."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.