Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 5/3/12
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The Diamondbacks were 84-0 when they led entering the ninth inning last season, one of the major contributing reasons for their 29-game improvement and NL West title in 2011. Things have not gone as smoothly this season. Closer J.J. Putz gave up a two-run, walk-off home run to Washington shortstop Ian Desmond in the last of the ninth inning in a 5-4 loss Wednesday, the second two-run walk-off homer he has given up this season. Colorado's Todd Helton touched Putz in the ninth inning of the Rockies' 8-7 victory at Coors Field on April 14. "I just made a bad pitch and he put it away," Putz said of Desmond's homer. "I was trying to get it down and away and I left it up, middle-in. Joe (Saunders) pitched his butt off. For the most part, I think I'm throwing well. I just left one pitch up. Game over." Bryce Harper doubled off the right-center field fence to open the Nationals' ninth before Putz got consecutive strikeouts. The D-backs are 4-2 on their 10-game trip after taking three of four games from Miami and splitting the first two games with Washington, but both of their losses have come in the ninth inning. The Marlins trailed 2-0 after 6 12 innings Saturday before scoring a run in each of the last three innings. Setup man David Hernandez failed to convert a save situation when he gave up a leadoff homer to Logan Morrison in the eighth inning. Putz has five saves after getting a career-high 45 last season, but both he and Hernandez have two blown saves this season. Putz had only four failed conversions last season; Hernandez had three while getting 11 saves. Pitching coach Charlie Nagy and a member of the training staff visited the mound during Putz's last appearance April 30, but Putz said later that the visit was unnecessary, that his disgust after missing with a pitch was misinterpreted. The D-backs' bullpen five blown saves, tied for the NL high, and have given up an NL high 11 home runs in 69 23 innings. Their ERA is 4.65. Putz is 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in nine appearances. "It won't be the last time it happens to us this year. We just have to bounce back. It's disappointing. We have to regroup," manager Kirk Gibson said. NOTES, QUOTES --LHP Joe Saunders made his fifth consecutive quality start to open the season but was not rewarded with his third victory when Washington SS Ian Desmond hit a two-run, walkoff home in the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory. Saunders, 2-1, with a 1.24 ERA, lost a victory after pitching seven scoreless innings in his first start of the season at San Diego on April 11 when Hernandez gave up a two-run home run in the eighth inning of a 2-1 loss. --SS John McDonald has hit safely in his last four starts after singling in the ninth inning Wednesday, when he also received his third career intentional walk when Washington pitched around him with a runner on second base and two outs in the sixth to bring up LPH Joe Saunders. McDonald, hitting .323, has three intentional walks in 895 games, and all three have come in his last four starts, two in as many days. He spent his first 12 12 seasons in the American League before being acquired from Toronto last August. --LHP Wade Miley was named the NL Rookie of Month after going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five appearances in April. "It's nice, but we told him to keep the same hat size," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson told reporters. Miley won his two starts, against Philadelphia and Miami, while giving up three hits and no earned runs in 12 13 innings. He has 15 strikeouts in 21 innings. BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- home runs given up by D-backs' relievers this season, the most in the NL. QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just left one pitch up. Game over." -- D-backs closer RHP J.J. Putz, after Washington SS Ian Desmond hit a walkoff home run with two outs in the ninth inning. MEDICAL WATCH: --RHP Daniel Hudson (right shoulder impingement) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19. He won't throw his first bullpen session until May 6. --CF Chris Young (small tear in right shoulder ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list April 18. He took 35 swings off a batting tee at the D-backs' minor league facility on April 30. No return date has been set. --INF Geoff Blum (strained oblique muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 17, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 30. --SS Stephen Drew (right ankle surgery in July 2011) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He began playing games in extended spring training April 12, but the timetable for his return is uncertain. --RHP Takashi Saito (strained right calf) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 1. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Visalia on April 19, but suffered a setback while taking fielding practice, extending his stay on the disabled list indefinitely.
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