CINCINNATI - The small ballpark, the woeful Reds pitching staff, the roster move — none of it was any help for an Arizona offense stuck in the mud that continues to watch its tires spin faster and faster.
The Diamondbacks say the inefficiency is just a phase and they’ll get through it, but a thorough dismantling by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help the cause.
Cincinnati starter Kyle Lohse entered Friday’s game with 10 losses and a 4.77 ERA, but threw a four-hitter in an 8-1 win over Arizona in front of 20,445 at Great American Ballpark.
Lohse allowed one hit — a fourth inning double by Orlando Hudson — through eight innings before giving up three singles and a meaningless run in the ninth.
“(The at-bats) weren’t great,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.
“You don’t want to minimize what Lohse did — he pitched a good game — but I think there were some balls we should have done some more damage on and we didn’t.”
The Diamondbacks are confident the dry spell will end sooner rather than later, but getting half your hits from pinch-hitters isn’t a ringing endorsement of an offensive turnaround.
They’ll have two more games against the Reds to work it out before a three-day break because of All-Star festivities.
“When teams start to struggle, they tend to put more pressure on themselves and it’s a lot harder to forget about the previous day when you keep going through struggles,” Scott Hairston said. “As the season goes on, we’ll catch fire again.
There’s no need to panic, yet.”
It was the Cincinnati offense that caught fire Friday, hitting three home runs in the first five innings to give Lohse plenty of support.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s two-run homer in the fifth made it 6-0 and he made sure the Arizona players knew it, chirping while rounding the bases.
It was Griffey’s 586th career home run, tying Frank Robinson for sixth place on the all-time list.
Intentional or not, Micah Owings’ next pitch was a fastball that skimmed the front of Adam Dunn’s jersey. Dunn had also homered previously in the game.
A single by next batter Scott Hatteberg chased Owings from the game after 4 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits and six earned runs and took the loss. He is 5-4 with a 4.84 ERA on the season.
“Bottom line, I’ve just got to do what I can do and concentrate on that and get better,” Owings said. “I wasn’t near as sharp as I should’ve been tonight.”
Before the contest, struggling right fielder Carlos Quentin was sent down to Triple-A and Jeff Salazar was called up. Salazar started, but like many other Diamondbacks, didn’t have much luck against Lohse, going 0-for-2.
The Diamondbacks get ace Brandon Webb on the mound today as they try to break a skid that’s reached six losses in seven games.
“You can’t press; that’s when times get worse,” Hudson said. “We’ve got to keep battling. This is when a team grows together and it keeps getting stronger. Keep believing in each other, have the coaches keep believing in us. That’s all we can do.”