The Arizona Diamondbacks’ long road trip may have changed cities, but the result was the exact same.
With a 4-3 loss in Los Angeles Friday night, Arizona fell to 1-6 on that road trip.
That alone may be enough for a team’s frustrations to boil over.
Add in that all six losses on the trip have been by just one run and you have a team searching for answers.
The six straight one-run losses is a new franchise record.
“We are close. It isn’t a negative vibe,” centerfielder Chris Young told MLB.com. “We are a little down right now because it has been a bad road trip. We realize that we are just a click away from winning all of these games. We have to find a way to stay positive.
“We have to find a way to not try and go for the home run, to go for the single and play small ball at times and make adjustments.”
The D-Backs got back-to-back doubles from Young and Melvin Mora to open the game, but couldn’t score as Young only got to third after holding up to see if Mora’s ball would be caught.
There was another chance to get to Dodgers’ lefty Clayton Kershaw in the 3rd inning, as Arizona loaded the bases with just one out.
Stephen Drew struck out and Justin Upton flew out and the threat was over, with nothing to show from it.
Meanwhile, D-Backs starter Joe Saunders was rolling into the fifth inning, shaking his early inning struggles at least for one game.
The Dodgers finally broke through against Saunders in the 5th when Rod Barajas sent a solo homer into the left field seats to put Los Angeles up 1-0.
Saunders surrendered another run in the 6th.
Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles started things with back-to-back singles and after a lineout, Matt Kemp delivered a run scoring double to right.
Saunders limited the damage in the 6th to just one run, working out of trouble, but wasn’t as fortunate in the 7th.
After getting two quick outs, Saunders walked Carroll, who then came around to score when Drew threw away an infield single by Miles.
D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson then pulled Saunders for lefty Joe Paterson, but Andre Ethier drove in Carroll with an infield single to Drew to put the Dodgers up 4-0.
In one of his better starts of the season, Saunders allowed four runs, three earned in 6.2 innings. Despite his efforts, he fell to 0-5 on the season.
“Joe threw a good game for us. It is a shame that we didn’t play better behind him,” Gibson told MLB.com. “He came out very aggressive. He pounded the zone and had a good pace going. He pitched well enough to win tonight.
Just like many other games on the trip, the D-Backs battled back.
After singling with one out in the 8th, Young stole second and scored on a two-out base hit by Xavier Nady.
The game stayed 4-1 into the 9th and yet again the D-Backs put themselves in position to even the score.
And yet again, they couldn’t.
Facing fill-in Dodgers’ closer Vicente Padilla, Arizona put two runners on with nobody out.
Gerardo Parra grounded out, advancing the runners to second and third for Miguel Montero.
Montero lined a base hit back through the box, scoring a pair to cut the deficit to 4-3.
After a Russell Branyan strikeout, Young drew a walk to move the tying run into scoring position.
Before Mora could step in, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly pulled him in favor of Kenley Jensen.
The young right-hander struck out Mora to end the game.
Yet again, so close, but so far for the D-Backs.
“It is tough losing those close games. It gets old. We had some opportunities to win the game tonight,” Young said.
The D-Backs will try and stop their slide tomorrow behind Josh Collmenter’s first career start. Chad Billingsley takes the ball for Los Angeles, with first pitch at 4:10PM MST.