They stood in the dugout in stunned disbelief, perhaps not able to process what had happened or maybe not ready to accept it. The Arizona Diamondbacks had lost again, no surprise there, but it was so much more than that.
It was a blown lead as large as any in a loss in club history. It was an already unfathomable losing streak that grew by another rung. It was a night that, given all that had come before it over the previous six weeks, has to rank among the worst in the history of the organization.
The Diamondbacks lost 9-8 to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Oracle Park. They led, 7-0, after two innings and still managed to lose, managed to tumble one more step down the stairs of history.
They have lost 21 consecutive games on the road, leaving them one shy of tying the all-time record. They have lost 12 games in a row overall and 26 of their past 28. They have played 40 games since May 4 and have lost 35 of them.
Diamondbacks trying to snap a 20-game road losing streak and Mike Yastrzemski hits a go-ahead grand slam for the Giants in the 8th inning… pic.twitter.com/g31W452QGj
Moments after it ended, second baseman Josh Rojas sulked as he leaned against the railing of the visitors’ dugout. Left fielder David Peralta sat motionless on the bench. Infielder Eduardo Escobar, who did not play, stood silently, leaning against a bat.
“Yeah, that one hurts,” Rojas said. “It hurts a lot. Anytime you lose, it hurts. For it to be in that kind of fashion, a four-run homer, a grand slam, in the bottom of the eighth. That one was tough.”
The Diamondbacks led, 8-5, when Mike Yastrzemski hugged the right-field foul pole in the bottom of the eighth inning. He had come to the plate with two out and the bases loaded. He quickly fell behind in the count, 1-2, taking a down-the-middle fastball for a called Strike 2.
He seemed to be sitting off-speed. Two pitches later, he got one he could handle, hooking a change-up from reliever Humberto Castellanos and narrowly keeping it fair.
“I hurt for the guys,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I hurt for that group of guys that are fighting and playing as hard as they possibly can and we don’t have any results. That gets very taxing. It wears you down.”
The Diamondbacks have lost games in just about every way imaginable over the past month a half. There have been games in which they have not hit or their pitching has been atrocious. There have been defensive miscues and costly baserunning mistakes. During one game, Lovullo chewed out his team for its sloppiness; a week later, he made a costly mental mistake of his own.
This one, though, felt like one they would not lose. They scored four times in the first and added three more in the second. They tacked on another run in the fifth. Instead, they matched a club record for largest blown lead in a loss. The only other time it happened was on July 9, 2009, when they blew a 7-0 lead to the Marlins only to fall, 14-7.
“The fashion that it happened stings even more,” Rojas said. “It would be a different story if we didn’t play a good game, came out of the blocks slow and they just beat us down. But to have a game were you’re leading, what, for 7 2/3 innings you’ve got the lead, and they hit a four-run homer there. And it just wasn’t even a homer, it felt like three inches from being foul. It was down the line, hug the pole, just barely stayed fair, on a good pitch, a good hitter. That one stung. That one stung a lot.”
The Diamondbacks have been at the bottom of the baseball world before. They lost 111 games in 2004, the year they ousted owner Jerry Colangelo. Their leadership was mocked at various points over the next decade-plus. They have made a habit of disappointing when expectations are highest.
But it all might pale in comparison to what has happened over the past six weeks and culminated on Tuesday night.
“We were in a good spot,” Lovullo said. “We were in a good spot all the way through this game — until that last inning.”
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