PHOENIX -- Running out of time to make a playoff push with a little more than a month left in the season, the D-backs are experiencing a myriad of ways to lose games, a striking contrast to their knack to seemingly pull wins out of thin air a year ago.Monday was no different, as the club welcomed the National League Central-leading Reds into town and couldn't capitalize on losses by the Dodgers and Pirates, two teams ahead of Arizona in the National League Wild Card race. Allowing one run on a two-out error and another on a home run from a pitcher, the D-backs dropped their fourth consecutive game, 3-2, to the Reds at Chase Field. Making his second Major League start, Tyler Skaggs pitched well enough to win but the defeat rightfully fell on his shoulders after the lefty played a part in both blunders that decided the game. He eventually left the game after 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. "He'll learn. Those are some of things when you're younger," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's too bad, he threw very good. He's been very effective. He got on a roll there. He makes good pitches and he's got some stuff to get people out. It's very promising." The rookie appeared to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, but when Wilson Valdez grounded back to the mound, a hurried throw to first was mishandled by Paul Goldschmidt and the Reds plated a run. "A lot of things went wrong on that play," Skaggs said. "I rushed it in my head, I panicked because I knew [Valdez] was fast and I made a stupid play that cost us the ballgame. It's a tough learning curve. You have to grit your teeth out there, they have tough hitters, real tough hitters." The other costly mistake happened two innings later when Skaggs served up a line-drive homer to opposing starter Bronson Arroyo that ended up standing as the game-winning run. "He's a good athlete and he's got a good swing," Skaggs said. "You can't walk the pitcher there, you have to hit your spots, I left it down the middle. I tip my cap to him. You have to go right after him." The loss marked the D-backs' 20th in 30 games decided by one run this season. The club is now 4-11 in its last 15 home games and 7 1/2 games out of both the Wild Card and the NL West lead. Like he has throughout the D-backs' recent struggles, Justin Upton tried to be the saving grace Monday, collecting two hits and driving in two runs to extend his streak of reaching safely at home to 20 games. Entering Monday, Upton was just 4-for-23 in his career against Arroyo. "With him you kind of have to wait to get a good pitch to hit and see if he's going to stay on the plate," Upton said. "He works the corners a lot. I'm feeling a little better in general though and seeing a few pitches to hit." The outfielder put the D-backs ahead with his 11th long ball of the season in the second inning, but the Reds responded in their next at-bat to tie the game at 1 on a Brandon Phillips RBI double. After the Skaggs and Goldschmidt miscue put the Reds ahead, 2-1, the D-backs evened the score on Upton's second RBI hit of the night before Arroyo helped his own cause in the sixth, smacking his sixth homer of his career, a solo shot to left field off Skaggs that was originally ruled a double but overturned by replay. "He was throwing me a lot of four-seamers that weren't moving a whole lot," Arroyo said. "A lot of them were just up and away and I was popping them up like I did the first at-bat. I thought if he threw it middle-in, I'd have a chance to at least hit it hard. He did and luckily I got just enough of it to win the ballgame." Arroyo left after the sixth inning to let his bullpen close out the game, but not before holding the D-backs to just two runs on five hits. The last time Arizona saw the 35-year-old on July 16, the club pounded out five runs over three innings against him in a 5-3 victory. "He mixed it up on us a little bit this time," Gibson said. "He threw a lot strikes, a few more fastballs that made us think and kept us off balance. We just hit some balls that were out in front, that's what he does. Just too effective for us tonight and we didn't make the most of our opportunities as well."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.