MIAMI — If negativity in the coverage of the Diamondbacks is the reason Miguel Batista refuses to conduct postgame interviews, does that mean he isn't talking to his teammates either?
Because the real negative factor in the D-Backs’ slump is their offense.
Arizona managed fewer than three runs Monday for the seventh straight game, falling 3-2 to the surging Florida Marlins at Pro Player Stadium.
The Marlins, who have won four straight and seven of eight, moved ahead of the D-Backs in the National League wild card chase. Florida trails Philadelphia by a game, with Arizona two out.
The Diamondbacks — who have lost seven consecutive road games, tying the franchise single-season record — are 11 1/2 games out in the NL West, their largest deficit since the end of the 2000 season.
In losing eight of their past 10 games, the D-Backs have scored 15 runs — four fewer than any previous 10-game stretch in team history. Only one of those
runs has come before the fourth inning.
Arizona has scored eight runs in seven games, also a franchise mark — as are the 13 runs in eight games and 15 runs in nine games.
In seven innings, Batista struck out 11, three more than his previous career high. He was hurt only by rookie Miguel Cabrera, who slammed a two-run homer in the second inning and an RBI double in the fourth.
“He deserved a lot better fate,” D-Backs manager Bob Brenly said of Batista (7-6). “It seems like I've been saying that a lot lately about our pitchers.”
Catcher Rod Barajas said the lack of run support “just eats us up inside.”
Lefty Mark Redman became the latest pitcher to stifle the Arizona offense. Redman (9-4) did it with a fastball that never topped 87 mph and was mostly in the 82-84 mph range. His change-up was 77-79 mph, his curve as slow as 66.
“You look back and you say you saw every pitch but you just couldn't square one up,” Luis Gonzalez said.
“He comes in under the radar,” Brenly said. “Everything looks good, but very few of them ended up in the strike zone. We gave him a lot of easy innings getting ourselves out.”
Brenly said patience at the plate, a strength in the team's 12-game winning streak a month ago, is a key factor in the current slide.
“We were swinging at a lot of (Redman's) pitches,” said Shea Hillenbrand, who hit a 413-foot homer for Arizona's only RBI against Redman. “A lot of times you see the ball really well and you jump at the ball and we didn't do a lot of things we need to do to have successful swings.”
The Diamondbacks, who have gone 71 straight innings without scoring more than one run, had a chance for an actual rally in the eighth.
With one out and Florida up 3-1, Matt Kata — who had four of Arizona's seven hits — singled. After Redman walked Alex Cintron and allowed an infield single to Gonzalez, Ugueth Urbina came in.
Urbina struck out Shea Hillenbrand and thought he had Carlos Baerga struck out on a full-count pitch, walking for the dugout. But Chandler's Mike DiMuro called the pitch a ball, giving Baerga a bases-loaded walk that cut the deficit to a run and prompting harsh words from Urbina to the umpire.
Danny Bautista struck out to end the threat, and the last two pitches caused the D-Backs to take their turn barking at DiMuro.
“That at-bat was mind-boggling,” Brenly said. “After Urbina runs off the mound and shows up the umpire the way he does . . . and then (DiMuro) gives him two pitches that are borderline at best. I don't know that I've ever seen an umpire do that after being shown up the way he was.
“I'm not saying he needs to squeeze (Urbina), but certainly you don't go off the corner and give the guy pitches after he embarrasses him in front of everybody.”