D-backs run out of steam in extra innings

D-backs run out of steam in extra innings

D-backs run out of steam in extra innings

PHOENIX -- Moments after Cliff Pennington grounded out to second for the final out in the 12th inning Wednesday night, the entire D-backs dugout emptied into the bowels of Chase Field. Once euphoric after the club completed a six-run comeback, nobody could bear to stick around to watch the Cubs celebrate a victory that had slipped through Arizona's fingers.

Nobody that is except for David Hernandez.

Unlike the rest of his teammates, he stayed put, staring straight ahead as the disappointment from another harsh outing set in.

After issuing a two-out walk in the top of the 12th, Hernandez surrendered the game-winning RBI double to Nate Schierholtz as the D-backs, who erased a six-run deficit to force extras, lost a heartbreaker, 7-6, to the Cubs.

"Eventually I have to start doing my job," Hernandez said. "It's not fair to my teammates who work so hard."

In taking his sixth loss of the year, Hernandez's ERA climbed to 4.76, more than two runs higher than where it finished at the end of 2012.

"It just seems like every single mistake I make gets hit," he said. "Eventually I have to start making better pitches, and the sooner the better. I just have to keep working. It was just a tough one to lose, especially after we battled back."

Coupled with the Dodgers' extra-inning victory in Toronto, the D-backs now trail Los Angeles by 1 1/2 games in the National League West. Since Arizona took a 2 1/2-game lead in the division into the All-Star break, the club has gone 2-4 while the Dodgers have yet to lose in six contests.

Arizona had plenty of chances to end the game before Hernandez took the mound, but stranded two runners in the ninth, three in the 10th and two more in the 11th. In all, the D-backs left 16 men on base and hit just 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

"We have no one to blame but ourselves," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We left a zillion guys on and we didn't really swing at good pitches in those situations. That's the tough part about it. You have to give the Cubs credit, they made some good pitches on us, but I think we swung at some marginal pitches out of the zone, too."

The D-backs loaded the bases in the first, fourth and fifth innings, finally breaking through with two runs in the fifth when Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney let a potential inning-ending double-play ball go between his legs and into center field.

That momentum-shifting play seemed to awaken the D-backs, who inched to within one run in the sixth on Paul Goldschmidt's first home run since July 6, a two-out, three-run line drive just over the left-field fence.

Still down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona pulled even when Cody Ross hit a sacrifice fly to deep left. That was all the D-backs would get even though they continued to threaten up until the bottom of the 12th, in which they went down in order to end the game.

"It doesn't feel good. We fought back but we made a lot of mistakes and they caught up to us," Gibson said. "It's tough to win that way."

Still, the comeback got D-backs starter Ian Kennedy off the hook for the loss after he allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks over five innings. The right-hander hasn't won since June 1, a span of nine starts that marks the longest winless streak of the 28-year-old's seven-year Major League career.

Kennedy cruised through the first three innings, facing the minimum and striking out five. In the fourth, however, the right-hander served up three hits, including doubles from David DeJesus and Anthony Rizzo, to put the D-backs in a 2-0 hole.

"I started leaving pitches up," Kennedy said. "I felt really good in the first couple innings, there are just a few pitches in an outing that can make or break your start."

The backbreaker for Kennedy came in the fifth after he retired the first two batters of the frame without incident. The veteran thought he had retired the side when DeJesus hit a weak grounder to the right side of the infield, but second baseman Martin Prado was unable to make the play despite ranging to his left and getting his glove on the ball. Although initially ruled an infield hit, the official scorer later changed it to an error.

"I don't know if it's an error but anybody would say we expect to make that play," Gibson said.

Kennedy was unable to pitch around the miscue, as Junior Lake doubled in a run before Rizzo walked to set up Schierholtz's three-run shot into the right-field stands, lifting Chicago to its 6-0 cushion.

"He left the ball out over the plate, he didn't get it in far enough," Gibson said. "They just capitalized on our mistakes more than we capitalized on theirs."

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