MILWAUKEE —In this case, a lack of familiarity bred lament.
The Milwaukee Brewers roughed up Curt Schilling on Sunday, defeating the Diamondbacks, 6-4, at Miller Park and putting them on the brink of playoff elimination.
Arizona, which trails wild card leader Florida by 4 1/2 games and Philadelphia by four, can do no better than tie for the wild card. The D-Backs are 81-75, but even if they win their final six games, the Phillies or Marlins will also have at least 87 wins (both teams have 85 and they play a three-game series this week).
One more Arizona loss, or three more wins by Florida or Philadelphia, will officially knock the Diamondbacks out of the postseason.
The D-Backs are 4-2 so far on this trip, but as manager Bob Brenly said, “Any other time of year you take that, but given our circumstance, that's not good enough.”
Schilling allowed home runs to three hitters for the first time in 2 1/2 seasons and gave up a season-high six runs in just five innings.
“I can't put my finger on any one thing other than I made a lot of bad pitches today,” he said.
“He just couldn't seem to locate his pitches today as well as we're used to seeing from him, particularly his split-finger,” Brenly said. “He left a lot of them up in the middle of the plate. Just very uncharacteristic of what were used to seeing from Schill.
“Schill just made some mistakes today, and they didn't let him get away with them. They hit them hard.”
Schilling (8-9) prepares for his starts by watching video of his past encounters with hitters. But the largely anonymous Brewers provided little of a track record; three of their eight starters had never faced Schilling, and another two had fewer than five plate appearances against him.
“I felt like I was going to try to feel my way through the lineup the first time because I didn't know them,” he said, “and make the adjustments I needed to make. I just made bad pitch after bad pitch today.”
Richie Sexson (No. 42) and Keith Ginter (No. 14, tops among NL rookies) homered on consecutive pitches in the first inning as Milwaukee went up 3-0. Bill Hall, who doubled during a two-run third inning, added a solo shot in the fifth.
Schilling had allowed only four home runs total in his previous 12 starts. The last time three hitters homered off Schilling was June 27, 2001, when Houston's Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell and Moises Alou (twice) went deep.
Schilling threw just 65 pitches Sunday, his fewest in a start for the Diamondbacks (for reason other than injury or stadium power failure).
“You're out there getting beat around, you can't argue to stay in a game like this,” he said.
Schilling has been bothered this month by a groin strain and a stiff neck, but said he “felt great” Sunday.
He had never allowed the Brewers six runs. It was the third time this year he lasted only five innings, matching the total of his first 2 1/2 seasons with the D-Backs (one of those the power-outage game in San Diego).
Milwaukee's Wes Obermueller (1-5) earned his first major league win, allowing three runs in six innings despite diving up eight hits and walking three. Obermueller, who came in with an 0-7 career record and 6.37 career ERA, got the one key break of the game.
Down 5-2 in the fourth, Arizona loaded the bases with one out. Craig Counsell, who tripled during a two-run third inning, roped a liner back up the middle . . . and into Obermueller's glove.
Obermueller threw to first base, ending the inning and making Steve Finley the 11th D-Backs base runner doubled off on a liner this year.
“That could have swung the game in a different direction,” Brenly said. “He hit the living daylights out of that ball. I'm still not quite sure how that guy caught it with the shadows and the sun and everything else.”
Obermueller admitted he didn't see the ball until it was in his glove.
“I hit it where his glove was,” Counsell said. “I think that was the only way he could have caught it. It happens.”
Asked if it was symbolic of the Diamondbacks’ season, Counsell responded, “I'm not going to say that. It was bad luck.”
SHORT HOPS: Right fielder Raul Mondesi returned after missing four games with a strained right hip flexor. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. . . .
Chad Moeller caught the bottom of the eighth inning, his first action since Sept. 4 and his third game since Aug. 20. . . .
Left-handed pitching prospect Mike Gosling will have his torn labrum repaired within a week by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. Gosling is not expected to miss much of next season if his rehabilitation goes as planned and could even be ready for the start of the 2004 season. . . .
Carlos Baerga walked as a pinch hitter Sunday. He needs two pinch hits to tie David Dellucci's team record of 18, set in 2001. . . .
Junior Spivey, who has struck out 13 times in his past 32 at-bats, got Sunday off.