PHOENIX -- Whether it was on the mound or at the plate, the D-backs could not finish things out Monday night.
The result was a lackluster 8-2 loss to the Cardinals in front of 15,746 at Chase Field.
The D-backs got plenty of runners on base, but getting them across the plate was another story. Arizona stranded nine runners and was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
On the flip side, the third out of an inning seemed to be elusive for D-backs pitchers. Of the eight runs the Cardinals scored, seven of them came with two outs.
"We were unable to close them out," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan frustrated the D-backs both with his arm and his bat.
The right-hander pitched his way into and out of trouble throughout his six innings, allowing seven hits and four walks.
"This is a tough place for me to pitch," said McClellan, who improved to 1-0. "I knew that coming in. It was a grind from the get-go. Obviously, the four walks isn't what you want, but I made pitches when I needed to and worked on trying to throw [fewer] pitches per inning. But you've got to go with what you've got that day. I made some pitches to get out of innings, but that's not always going to be the case."
The D-backs can only hope it's not.
"He was mixing his pitches up a little better with runners in scoring position," D-backs outfielder Justin Upton said. "That's usually what pitchers do and we just couldn't solve him tonight. He had a good breaking pitch and he used it to his benefit. We came out and swung the bats OK. Our running game was shut down. We didn't put any pressure on them. At the end of it, they were comfortable the entire game, so they came out on top."
At the plate, McClellan was equally as dangerous. He drove in the game's first run in the third when, after Yadier Molina led off with a single, he lined a shot over Chris Young's head in center for a double.
One inning later, he drove in another run with a grounder through the hole at second.
"I got lucky a couple times," McClellan said. "I got fastballs up to hit."
The fastball up that he got in the third is certainly one that D-backs starter Barry Enright wished he could have back.
"Obviously, [I] think he's bunting, kind of lay one in there and he smokes it in the gap," Enright said. "My fault."
All and all it was a frustrating night for Enright.
In the fourth, after Matt Holliday led off with a single, Enright retired the next two hitters and was tantalizingly close to escaping with the game still 1-0.
Instead Skip Schumaker pulled a grounder just out of the reach of a diving Juan Miranda and down the first-base line to score Holliday.
After an intentional walk, McClellan delivered his RBI hit and then Ryan Theriot added one of his own, and suddenly the Cardinals led, 4-0.
"The inning kind of unraveled on me," Enright said. I threw [Schumaker] a pretty good 1-1 pitch, and it's a game of inches. If the ball is a foot to the right, they score one run in the game. After that, you can't give up two or three hits and let the inning get out of control."
Trailing, 4-1, the D-backs had a chance to get back in the game in the sixth when they put two on with two outs. Gibson sent up his best pinch-hitter, Russell Branyan, but McClellan was able to get the slugger to roll out to first to end the inning.
"Branyan, you make a mistake there and it's three runs," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "But he made an excellent pitch, a lot of movement and great location."
The game got out of hand in the ninth when reliever Juan Gutierrez, who has struggled this year, gave up three runs on a pair of homers by Lance Berkman and Jon Jay.
"This game is a lot about confidence," Gibson said of Gutierrez's struggles. "He's been through it before. He's got to find a way to fight through it. We're going to keep on throwing him out there. He has the stuff to do it, he's been successful in the past, he's also gone through these streaks and we have to find a way to get him through it."