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Struggling D-backs no match for Cardinals

Associated Press Published: May 9, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks staggered through their fourth loss in a row and sixth in seven games, a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Arizona has dropped nine of its past 11 at home, not exactly the situation the defending NL West champions expected.

Justin Upton, whose ninth-inning single was just his fourth hit in his past 25 at-bats, says the Diamondbacks "have to get our confidence back."

"I know the character of this ball club and we are going to be fine," he said. "We just have to find it, find it and pick ourselves up and get a little streak going."

Carlos Beltran homered in his first two at-bats, including a grand slam, to provide all six St. Louis RBIs.

Beltran, who had one of the Cardinals' five homers in their 9-6 series-opening win on Monday, hit a two-run homer off Ian Kennedy in the first, then cleared the bases with a shot into the swimming pool area in right-center in the seconds, his 10th career grand slam.

He has 10 home runs this season.

Beltran's performance came a week after he went 4 for 5, including two homers, for a career-high seven RBIs against Pittsburgh.

"It's confidence, it's results, it's a little bit of everything," Beltran said. "It's being able to come to the ballpark and have good BP (batting practice) sessions, staying inside the ball, things like that. You can carry those to the games. I'm just going through good times. In this game, you go through ups and downs."

Jake Westbrook (4-2) blanked the Diamondbacks on four hits through seven innings.

Kennedy (3-2) threw five scoreless innings after Beltran's slam but the Diamondbacks lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"Plain and simple St. Louis is playing much better than us," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "They beat us in every aspect of the game. It doesn't mean that it will be that way all year, but right now we are not playing very well. They are playing very well."

The Cardinals won their third straight and can complete a three-game sweep in the desert on Wednesday night.

St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina left the game in the ninth inning after being hit in the back of his gloved hand trying to snag a pitch by reliever Mitchell Boggs. Preliminary X-rays were negative.

"That's good news because the ball hit me pretty good," said Molina, who was expecting a slider but got a fastball. "I feel good. We'll see what happens tomorrow."

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