Cardinals look to push Arizona toward dubious distinction

MLB

The Arizona Diamondbacks are rapidly approaching a highly dubious franchise record as they enter Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Phoenix.

The Diamondbacks have dropped the first two contests of the four-game series and have lost 12 consecutive games, two shy of the franchise mark of 14 set in 2004.

The current slide became the second longest skid in franchise history when Arizona lost 8-6 to the Cardinals on Friday night.

The Diamondbacks have been outscored 66-30 during the dismal 12-game stretch. They have allowed seven or more runs on five occasions and tallied two or fewer runs seven times.

In the latest loss, Arizona left 13 runners on base.

“We’ve got to reload at the most critical moments and be hyper-focused about what we want to do and how we want to do it,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the defeat. “This isn’t an effort issue, it’s a focus issue.”

The troubles surely aren’t limited to just the past dozen games. Arizona has lost 15 of its past 16 contests and 21 of 24 and owns the worst record in the National League (18-34).

St. Louis posted its third straight victory with Friday’s triumph. Tyler O’Neill hit a two-run homer and Nolan Arenado added a solo shot.

O’Neill has homered twice in two nights since coming off the injured list to raise his season count to 10. He fractured his left middle finger on May 16.

“Ten days off will do something to you,” O’Neill said after Friday’s win. “It is kind of a go get ’em situation. Finger is banged up a little bit but who cares. I’m stepping in the box and competing and putting good swings on pitches to hit.”

O’Neill was one of the many amazed by Arenado’s 11th homer of the season.

The third baseman somehow got the bat on the ball on an inside pitch from Arizona left-hander Madison Bumgarner, and it carried before barely clearing the wall in left.

“I don’t think any of us know how he got the bat on that ball, let alone hit it out,” O’Neill said. “He’s a different animal when it comes to hitting. He’s fun to watch.”

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (2-4, 3.95 ERA) will take the ball Saturday as he looks to follow up a stellar outing against the Chicago Cubs last Sunday.

The 39-year-old Wainwright gave up just one hit and one walk and struck out seven in eight scoreless innings against the Cubs but wasn’t involved in the decision. Chicago won 2-1 in 10 innings.

It marked the second time in three outings that Wainwright didn’t allow a run. He gave up three hits over 8 1/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on May 9.

Wainwright was rocked by the San Diego Padres in his other turn during the three-start stretch. He served up three homers and allowed six runs and eight hits over four innings during a 13-3 loss.

Wainwright is 10-5 with a 3.06 ERA in 17 career appearances (14 starts) against the Diamondbacks. He has struggled with David Peralta (4-for-8).

Right-hander Seth Frankoff (0-1, 7.27 ERA) will be on the mound to make his third start of the season for Arizona.

The 32-year-old Frankoff has allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 8 2/3 innings. In his last outing on May 21, he served up two homers and gave up five runs and seven hits over four innings during a 7-1 loss to the Rockies.

–Field Level Media

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