CLEVELAND - After losing a ball in the wind and a third baseman to an inflated wrist, the Diamondbacks could not imagine a better time to blow out of blustery Cleveland.
"We have to regroup and get out of this interleague play. It’s killing us,’’ starter Shawn Estes said.
"Let’s get back in our division and try to get some momentum going.’’
Estes pitched the D-Backs’ second complete game in a row, the first time that has happened in three seasons, but could not keep them from taking a four-game losing streak to San Francisco after falling to Cleveland, 3-2, before 27,416 at Jacobs Field on Sunday.
Jake Westbrook matched Estes for eight innings and Bob Wickman recorded his American League-leading 20th save as the D-Backs (35-35) fell to .500 for the first time since their last trip to the Bay Area, when they were 8-8 after splitting two games with the Giants.
Cleveland (37-30) won its ninth straight game and the DBacks dropped to 6-9 in interleague play while wondering if third baseman Troy Glaus, who suffered a sprained wrist when base runner Ronnie Belliard collided with him for the final out of the eighth inning, will be able to play tonight.
"We’ll get a better diagnosis today,’’ Melvin said.
"If I show up tomorrow and the strength is back, I’ll be fine. The pain is tolerable,’’ Glaus said.
Estes gave up only two earned runs, and even one of those was spotty as center fielder Jose Cruz Jr. had a difficult time adjusting to a 13-mph wind that moved balls from center field toward left.
"It’s the roller coaster of major league baseball,’’ Cruz said of his difficulty playing the wind. "It’s one of those things that happens.’’
With runners on first and second base and one out in a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, Cleveland designated hitter Travis Hafner hit a onehop line drive to left-center field for a single, and when the ball tipped off Cruz’s glove, the second runner also scored.
The extra base proved to be the difference of a run when Estes, after a walk, induced a double-play ball to get out of the inning. The D-Backs turned four double plays, tying a franchise record.
Cruz hit his ninth home run in the fifth to cut Cleveland’s lead to 2-1, but Cleveland got another run in the sixth when the wind played a role.
Hafner singled with two outs and scored when Victor Martinez hit a line drive to left-center that Cruz misjudged, running to a spot deeper than where the ball landed.
"The outfield was tough. It was playing havoc with everybody, but those are plays that I think should be made,’’ said manager Bob Melvin, who made a trip to the mound one pitch after Martinez’s ball to settle down Estes.
"It played very different than it did the first two days,’’ Cruz said. "I had the misfortune of getting a lot of tough balls out there. They’d start one way and end up another. The wind was howling through there.
"I can catch Martinez’s ball. I thought I was going to catch it. I was running in the direction it was supposed to be, and I looked up and all of a sudden it went straight down.’’
Tony Clark singled in a run in the seventh to get the DBacks within one run. Craig Counsell lined out with a runner on second to end the eighth, and Wickman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Glaus, scheduled to be the third batter in the ninth, could not grip a bat after a loss of strength in his right wrist and was replaced by Royce Clayton, who struck out to end the game.
"That’s what (ticked) me off more than anything — two outs, nobody on in a one-run ballgame,’’ said Glaus, who leads the D-Backs and is tied for sixth in the National League with 16 home runs.
"That’s the kind of spot I want to be up there. Wickman is pitching great. Granted, it wouldn’t have been an easy atbat, but those are the at-bats that I want.’’