PHOENIX -- The joy of taking three out of four against Texas earlier in the week was fleeting for the Oakland Athletics.
It seemed a dim memory when, just a few days later, the Athletics were swept in three games at Arizona.No matter that two of the losses were by one run, including a 4-3 setback in the series finale on Sunday. Oakland is a season-worst nine games below .500."A bad series," manager Bob Melvin said. "Any time you're swept it's a bad series."Still, it was better than the nine-game skid the A's endured from May 22 to June 2, Oakland's Seth Smith said."Then we didn't really have a chance like these games we were in," he said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win but just kind of fell short. It is frustrating but it is also nothing to get alarmed about. Just keep plugging away."Arizona's Jason Kubel drove in two runs to give him 12 for the homestand. Chris Young singled twice and scored both times and Aaron Hill had a two-run single in the Diamondbacks' fifth win in a row.Joe Saunders (4-4) allowed one earned run in six innings. David Hernandez struck out the side in the eighth, then J.J. Putz tossed a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 16 opportunities.Travis Blackley (0-2), in his third start since being claimed off waivers from San Francisco on May 15, gave up three earned runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He also had a nasty welt on his left hip after taking a line drive off the bat of Ryan Roberts in the second."It got me pretty good," Blackley said. "I don't know how hard it was moving but that has to be the hardest I have ever been hit. I'm lucky it hit me there and not in the knee or something."Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt singled in the third inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games.The Diamondbacks scored three times in the first. They loaded the bases with one out on singles by Young and Justin Upton and a walk to Goldschmidt. Kubel bounced to second in what looked to be a sure double play, but shortstop Cliff Pennington dropped Jemile Weeks' throw to the bag and all runners were safe as a run scored."I just missed it," Pennington said. "A double play gets you out of the inning."On the next pitch, Hill singled to left to bring in two runs and Arizona led 3-0.An error also figured in Oakland's two-run fourth. Consecutive doubles by Jonny Gomes and Brandon Inge made it 3-1, then Josh Donaldson singled with two outs to left. Kubel's throw to the plate got there well ahead of Inge and catcher Henry Blanco made the tag, but the ball came loose and the runner was safe, slicing the lead to 3-2. Blanco was charged with an error.Young said he "just took a chance" when he decided to tag up and go to second on Upton's fly out to center in the fifth inning."Cowgill has a pretty good arm," Young said. "But sometimes I feel like if I can be aggressive on it, he still has to make a perfect throw."Young scored from second on Kubel's single, sliding in just ahead of Cowgill's throw.Oakland made it a one-run game again in the seventh on a pinch-hit RBI single by Smith. The A's had runners at first and third when Inge grounded out to end the inning."I thought we did fight, I really did, just couldn't get enough," Melvin said. "Smith got a big pinch hit and I felt like we had another opportunity. It was there, just not enough."
Arizona has Monday off before beginning a rough six-game interleague trip with three stops in Texas and three against the Los Angeles Angels. ... The Athletics take Monday off, then begin a three-game series at Colorado. ... Arizona improved 5-1 in interleague play. ... The A's were swept for the third time this season, the second time on the road. ... Kubel has a team-high 36 RBIs.