No last rites have been administered to the Diamondbacks. But the priest has been put on standby. And the funeral director has been notified he may soon need to make the necessary arrangements for the club’s 2006 season.
The D-Backs (63-67) suffered a crushing 6-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday at Chase Field, dropping them five games behind the Dodgers (68-62) in the NL West.
The D-Backs still have 32 games to play. But they have the unenviable task of trying to leapfrog three teams in that span.
Their prospects seem only slightly better in the wild-card race, where they’re running sixth, 3 1/2 games back.
The D-Backs said all the right things afterward. “We’re not giving up,” Conor Jackson said.
“We can’t let this get us down,” said Orlando Hudson.
“We still have to believe we have a run left,” manager Bob Melvin said, though he admitted the 2-1 series loss to the Dodgers was “big.” On Sunday, they couldn’t solve rookie Chad Billingsley (5-3), who is one of the game’s hottest pitchers.
“He’s got a live arm,” Hudson said. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”
“I’m pitching well right now,” said Billingsley, who said he “located the fastball” and mixed in enough off-speed pitches to keep the hitters off-balance.
For the D-Backs, Livan Hernandez shut out the Dodgers for four innings and carried a 1-0 lead into the fifth.
That’s when the game got away.
Rookie Andre Ethier led off for the Dodgers with a long double to left center. Wilson Betemit got Ethier to third with a grounder to second.
The D-Backs elected to intentionally walk catcher Russell Martin to get to Billingsley.
Billingsley sacrificed Martin to second, with Ethier staying at third.
Then Rafael Furcal drove them both home with a triple to the center-field wall. Furcal then scored on a single by Kenny Lofton.
Melvin said both he and Hernandez were “comfortable” walking Martin, knowing they probably would face Furcal with two outs.
“I threw him a curveball down, and he hit a fly ball,” Hernandez said.
The D-Backs got as close as 3-2 on a run-scoring double by Luis Gonzalez in the bottom of the fifth.
But the Dodgers put it away with a single by Ethier and a two-run homer by Betimet in the sixth. Hernandez said he threw what he thought was a good pitch to Betimet, a fastball inside.
“That was the game on that pitch,” Hernandez said.