The Arizona Diamondbacks were just three outs away from reaching an elusive goal -- a home win.
Following a very successful 6-3 road trip to San Diego, Milwaukee and Chicago, the D-backs returned home Monday to start a series with the Washington Nationals. Leading 5-4, manager Kirk Gibson handed the ball to closer Addison Reed to slam the door.
Instead, Reed gave up a game-tying solo home run to Danny Espinosa on the second pitch of the ninth inning. After retiring Tyler Moore and Nate McLouth, Reed was touched up again, this time on a solo homer by Kevin Frandsen. Washington went on to win 6-5.
"I'm locating the ball badly right now, and they're making me pay for it," Reed said following the game.
Both home runs came on fastballs down the middle of the plate.
Reed had converted all five of his save opportunities on the recently-completed road trip, but like most D-backs, has had problems at Chase Field this season. On the road, Reed has nine saves and an ERA of 3.72. At home, he's got just two saves and a 6.30 ERA.
Despite the latest crushing home loss, Gibson has faith in Reed.
"There is no controversy here," he said. "He's our closer, he's done a hell of a job for us, let's not forget that. It didn't work out tonight, and it sucks."
As Gibson pointed out, Reed has converted 11 of 13 save opportunities on the season, but his ERA of 5.03 is the highest among National League closers and he's yielded six home runs in 19.2 innings of work, also the most among NL firemen.
Reed appreciates his skipper having his back.
"I know I can do it, and to have him say that means a lot," Reed said. "This is not going to ruin me or do anything to my confidence. I'm going to out here (Tuesday) and be ready to throw."