The Arizona Diamondbacks are seeing their chances at a wild-card spot all but disappear, with a hapless offense a big reason to blame.
Their troubles might continue Wednesday when they try to avoid a three-game home sweep to red-hot Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Diamondbacks (69-68) lost for the fifth time in six games Tuesday, a 10-4 defeat that dropped them eight games behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild-card spot with only 25 to play.
Arizona has managed just 12 runs over its last six games and is batting .195 with runners in scoring position during that stretch, going 3 for 32 in such occasions in the five losses. All four runs Tuesday came on three homers as the club went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.
Paul Goldschmidt , who leads the NL with 104 RBIs, has gone hitless in four straight games for the first time since Aug. 24-27, 2012.
"We have to figure out how to get something going," said Adam Eaton , who homered on Tuesday. "It is called a grind for a reason and we can't put our heads down and pout about it. We have to get something going, some way and somehow and figure it out."
Turning things around could be a tall task against Buehrle (11-7, 3.92 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA over his last eight starts. He's also thrown at least seven innings in three of four outings, including a 3-2 home win over Kansas City on Friday when he threw seven shutout innings of four-hit ball for the Blue Jays (64-75).
"He's got so many different weapons," catcher J.P. Arencibia said of Buehrle, who pitched through an upset stomach. "He's so good at executing a plan."
Toronto's pitching staff has posted a 2.56 ERA while winning seven of the last nine contests.
Edwin Encarnacion continued to enjoy his visits to Chase Field on Tuesday, going 3 for 3 and homering in his fifth consecutive game there. He is 10 for 17 with seven homers and 11 RBIs over his last five games at Arizona.
"Eddie hits everywhere," manager John Gibbons said, "but he hits really well here."
Trying to end that streak for the Diamondbacks will be Randall Delgado (4-5, 3.67), who has experienced more success at home than on the road but hasn't been supplied with much offense behind him. He owns a 3.29 ERA in eight starts at Chase Field but is just 1-3 in those games, receiving two runs of support or fewer six times.
He took the loss in a 1-0 defeat to San Francisco on Friday despite yielding one run and three hits over seven innings.
"He threw like Randall can throw," manager Kirk Gibson said. "Great control, had them off balance and his location was pretty (darn) good. He certainly pitched good enough to win. You've got to win them."
Buehrle was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts versus Arizona last year while with Miami. Willie Bloomquist is 19 for 41 (.463) with eight doubles against him.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 21, 2013||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left hip bone bruise|
|August 21, 2013||Maicer Izturis||60-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Maicer Izturis||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left ankle|
|August 17, 2013||Jose Reyes||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 12, 2013||Colby Rasmus||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|August 10, 2013||Juan Perez||60-Day DL||Torn UCL ligament, left elbow|
|August 24, 2013||J.J. Putz||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinky finger|
|August 12, 2013||Cody Ross||60-Day DL||Dislocated right hip|
|August 11, 2013||Cody Ross||Day-to-Day||Dislocated right hip|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
|August 10, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Hip and knee injuries|
|July 29, 2013||Miguel Montero||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
PHOENIX (AP) -- First, a dash of dirt. Next, a sprinkling of water. A little hand mixing and pretty soon Willie Bloomquist was covered in mud.
The year of the dirty walk-off is getting awfully messy in the desert.
Bloomquist lined his third hit for a run-scoring single in the 10th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrated with what has become their typical grimy walk-off celebration after beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Wednesday.
"They're taking the walk-off celebration to a whole new level," the freshly showered Bloomquist said. "I'll be pulling dirt out of my hair from now until the end of the season."
The Diamondbacks have gone through an up-and-down season, leaving their playoff hopes clinging by a thread.
When it comes to pulling off the walk-off, they've been one of baseball's best.
Against the Blue Jays, Arizona rallied from a three-run deficit after shaky first inning by Randall Delgado . Diamondbacks pitchers faced the minimum from then until the 10th inning, when Will Harris (3-0) worked around a baserunner to keep the game tied in Arizona's franchise record-tying 21st extra-inning game.
Eric Chavez got the final rally started by blooping a single off Luis Perez (0-1) and pinch-runner Adam Eaton moved to third on A.J. Pollock's single off Jeremy Jeffress .
Late on a previous pitch by Jeffress, Bloomquist lined a 1-2, 100-mph fastball off the right-hander through the right side of Toronto's drawn-in infield, sending his teammates rushing onto the field.
It was Arizona's 13th walk-off hit of the season and the fourth career for Bloomquist, a veteran who didn't seem to particularly enjoy his teammates' pigpen antics.
"I don't think Bloomquist liked it, but he's usually miserable, anyway," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're like, `C'mon, Willie, get dirty.' It's a meek sacrifice to get the game-winner in my mind. It's a minimal sacrifice."
Rajai Davis homered for the second straight game, a two-run shot, and Edwin Encarnacion added a run-scoring double in the first inning off Delgado.
After that, the Blue Jays went quietly.
Delgado retired 13 straight batters after the first inning and Toronto became the first team to leave no runners on base in an extra-inning game since Cincinnati on July 20, 1970, at St. Louis, according to STATS Inc.
"Delgado really settled in after we put up three on him," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He started locating his pitches, limited his mistakes."
Delgado allowed three runs on four hits with six strikeouts.
Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle had a similar outing.
Matt Davidson ended Buehrle's scoreless streak at 14 innings with an RBI double in the second inning and Miguel Montero followed with another double to cut Toronto's lead to 3-2.
The left-hander shook off the shaky inning, working around a pair of baserunners in the third inning before retiring 10 of the next 11 batters.
Buehrle was lifted after a walk and a single in the seventh inning, and Chavez followed with a sacrifice fly off Sergio Santos that tied the game at 3-all.
Buehrle allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits in 6 1-3 innings.
"It was a good outing," Gibbons said. "He probably regrets walking Davidson to lead off that inning. He was looking for a strikeout and they got the hit, then Chavez came through. It was just one of those games."
One of those games the Diamondbacks seem to love.
The NL West leader for most of the season's first half, Arizona has labored since the All-Star break while the Los Angeles Dodgers have surged ahead. Even with the win, the Diamondbacks were 13 games behind the Dodgers in the division and eight behind the Reds in the NL wild- card race.
If only all their games went to extra-innings or came down to the last at-bat; Arizona is 16-5 in extra-inning games this season and has 13 wins in its last at-bat.
"Obviously, we'd like to get it done in nine, but if it takes long, it takes longer," Bloomquist said. "As long as we come out on top."
Even if it means getting dirty.
NOTES: Members of the Arizona Rattlers appeared before the game with the Arena Football League championship trophy before the game. The Rattlers won their second straight ArenaBowl on Aug. 17. ... Arizona 3B Martin Prado was picked as the NL Player of the Month for August on Wednesday after hitting .374 with four homers and 30 RBIs. ... Toronto starters have allowed three runs or less in seven straight outings. ... Arizona opens a four-game road series against San Francisco on Thursday. RHP Trevor Cahill will start the opener after going 2-0 with a 3.22 ERA his previous four starts. ... Toronto has a day off before starting a three-game series at Minnesota. RHP R.A. Dickey will pitch against Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey in the opener on Friday.