The Arizona Diamondbacks completed their six game road trip with a 3-3 record and returned home on Thursday half a game behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
The Diamondbacks ran into some unexpectedly tough pitching in Philadelphia and lost two of three games. Arizona scored only seven runs in the series and six of those were in one game, five in one inning.
The Philadelphia Phillies took the first game of the series on May 10 as Vicente Padilla hurled his first complete game in 50 professional starts and shut out the Diamondbacks 5-0. Padilla did not allow a hit until Chris Donnells pinch-hit single with two out in the eighth inning. Rick Helling deserved a better fate as he pitched his best game as a Diamondback. He left trailing 2-0 after seven having given up a pair of solo homers. The second was actually a misplayed single or double.
Arizona took the second game of the series 6-5 in 10 innings. Steve Finley and Craig Counsell homered with one and two men on base respectfully to give Randy Johnson a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning. The Big Unit gave up a pair of long balls and left with a 5-4 lead. After pitching a perfect eighth, B. K. Kim gave up a game-tying homer in the ninth. Junior Spivey doubled Finley home on a ball that probably should have been caught and Kim was perfect in the 10th to secure the victory.
The Phillies got another magnificent mound effort from starter Terry Adams and their impressive bullpen in a 3-1 victory in the series finale. Miguel Batista was a hard-luck loser for the Diamondbacks, giving up only two runs in seven strong innings.
Curt Schilling became the first eight game winner in the majors with an 11-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 13. Luis Gonzalez clubbed a first inning homer and had a key hit in the third as the Diamondback bats finally came to life. Schilling improved his record to a sparkling 8-1.
Kip Wells and the Pirates bullpen silenced the Diamondbacks bats again in the second game of the series as Pittsburgh took a 2-1 decision. Brian Anderson pitched well, but again suffered from a lack of run support.
Helling pitched five strong innings and the Diamondback bullpen did not allow a run in the 6-2 win over Pittsburgh in the series finale. Spivey, Gonzalez and Finley homered and the Diamondbacks got offensive productions from Jose Guillen, Counsell and Tony Womack as well. Spivey celebrated his return to the line-up with a very impressive three hit night.
The Diamondbacks began a four game series with the Phillies on Thursday. After Monday off, Arizona hosted the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday and will again tonight (May 22). Thursday is another off day before the Los Angeles Dodgers come to town for a weekend, three game series. The Diamondbacks begin a seven game road trip on Monday with four games in San Francisco to be followed by three in Los Angeles.