PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks dropped their third straight game Monday, 6-2 to the San Diego Padres, and considering the ground they have made up in the National League West lately, it would seem natural for a such a loss to be particularly frustrating.
The D-backs opened a seven-game homestand just five games behind the first-place Giants and four behind the Dodgers, suddenly in a close pennant race amid the Dodgers’ recent freefall. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, however, was not concerned with the context of Monday’s loss.
“I don’t think it matters,” Gibson said. “Bad baseball is bad baseball. I never like that.”
Gibson left no party unscathed in his postgame criticism, from the hitters to the pitchers to the fielders, but seemed particularly perturbed by an error committed by starting pitcher Trevor Cahill in the sixth inning.
“He pitched OK, but he made an important error and it cost us two runs,” Gibson said.
With one out and the D-backs trailing 3-0, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera grounded to D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt near the back of the infield dirt. Cahill ran over to cover first base but dropped Goldschmidt’s throw, allowing Cabrera to reach safely. Cahill then hit Wil Venable and gave up a two-run double to Alexi Amarista.
Cahill explained the error as a lapse in focus.
“I just took my eye off (the ball) at the last second to look down and make sure I got the bag,” Cahill said. “I just didn’t look it all the way in.”
Gibson brought the error up once more after crediting Padres starter Clayton Richard, who allowed two runs on eight hits in 8 2/3 innings, but then extended his criticism of the defense beyond Cahill.
“We were on a string here where we were playing really good defense,” Gibson said. “Now we’ve been kicking it around a little bit.”
After committing just three errors in a span of 27 games through last Wednesday, the D-backs have now committed seven errors over their last five games.
Monday’s problems went beyond one defensive lapse, though, as the offense extended a streak of hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position. On their three-game losing streak, the D-backs are 0 for 21 in such situations.
“It was overall a poor game of execution for us, and it’s something we’ve got to fix,” Gibson said. “It’s just hard to come back and win a game like that. It’s disappointing.”
While the D-backs have dropped three straight games and five of their last seven, they ended the night 5 1/2 games behind the idle Giants for the division lead. Also helping the D-backs remain close: the Dodgers’ ongoing struggles. Without injured star Matt Kemp, the Dodgers have won just twice in their last 14 games. They come to Chase Field on Thursday for a four-game series leading into the All-Star break.