MIAMI, Fla. - No wonder the Diamondbacks went looking for offensive help.
A few hours before trading for Raul Mondesi on Tuesday, the D-Backs were held to two runs or fewer for the eighth straight game, a 2-1 loss to the Florida Marlins at Pro Player Stadium.
“We're to the frustrated point,” Luis Gonzalez said after the D-Backs were held to five hits.
A sign of desperation came Tuesday when, down 2-0, manager Bob Brenly pinch hit for starter Brandon Webb after just five innings and 78 pitches.
“I was pretty shocked I came out that early,” said Webb, who allowed a career-high nine hits in a career-low five innings and has lost two straight decisions for the first time.
“You've got to score runs to win,” Brenly said. “We felt we had to hit (for him) right there. That's a lot earlier than we like to take him out of the ballgame, and had circumstances been different and our offense been a little more productive, he probably would have hit in that situation. But not the way we've been going lately.”
The D-Backs have been shut out in 70 of their past 80 innings, scoring no more than one run in the other 10. “I think it reaches a point where you can try too hard,” Brenly said, “and I think as an offensive unit we've probably reached that point. . . . The reality is, rather than try harder we need to try smarter. We need to have better at-bats.”
Webb (7-4) had an ineffective stretch of six pitches in the fifth inning, enough to doom him to a loss. Three straight singles and an error by shortstop Alex Cintron added up to two Florida runs.
That was all Brad Penny (9-8) needed. Penny — traded four years ago from Arizona to Florida as part of a package for pitcher Matt Mantei — was in serious trouble only in the seventh inning. But after Gonzalez singled and Carlos Baerga walked, Penny retired Steve Finley on a fly ball and struck out Danny Bautista and Cintron.
The next inning, Rod Barajas doubled off Penny and scored on Matt Kata's long sacrifice fly off Ugueth Urbina. Craig Counsell followed with a double, but the tying run was left on second when Gonzalez flied out to left.
In five career starts against the D-Backs, Penny is 2-0 with a 1.51 ERA.
“Penny threw a phenomenal game,” said Gonzalez, who has two RBIs since the All-Star break. “He was on his ‘A’ game tonight. I think every time he pitches against us he tries to reach down and get a little bit extra because this is where he started. He was definitely motivated.”