The Arizona Diamondbacks came home this week flying high, above .500 and within sight of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Then came two games against St. Louis, and the Cardinals have brought the Diamondbacks firmly back to earth.
Robbie Ray gave up four runs in the first inning and it didn't get any better after that in Arizona's 9-1 loss Tuesday night that saw the Diamondbacks fall 6 1-2 games behind the Dodgers.
"They jumped on him," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "They got the runs obviously. That is easy to see but we made some mistakes again behind him, with the defense. We let them get some extra bases, the throws from the outfield. It happened a couple of times. You just can't do that with a team like this."
St. Louis lost two of three in San Diego over the weekend but has dominated the Diamondbacks in their two games in Arizona.
"They seem to be pretty energized," Hale said. "I don't know if it is hitting in our ballpark. Some teams have come in here and done that but they are really playing well. They put a clinic on how to play tonight. Running the bases, defense, pitching. It was pretty impressive to watch."
Three days after his first three-hit game, Pham singled twice and got his second career triple. He scored three times.
Garcia (6-4) allowed a run and four hits, striking out six and walking one. His ERA dropped to 1.77.
The Cardinals earned their MLB-best 80th victory and are 35 games above .500.
"We keep track of that but we're right in the middle of a dogfight in our division," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "I think it's good for us to be honest with you, just keep pressing and make sure we're not backing off. There's no time for that."
The Cardinals lengthened their lead to five games over second-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central.
Ray (3-10) lasted three innings plus two batters. He allowed six runs and five hits. Ray walked five, hit a batter and struck out one.
"That first inning I couldn't command my fastball," he said. "I couldn't command anything. This is the most I have walked guys all year. When you get behind in the counts on guys, especially a team like this, who is in first place, that make you pay for it and that is what happened. `'
With Ray having control issues, the Cardinals jumped on the young left-hander for four runs in the first.
Matt Carpenter started it with a leadoff walk. Heyward had a two-run single and Molina an RBI double. Kolten Wong snapped an 0-for-8 skid with an RBI single. Molina, not the fastest base runner to say the least, stole third in the inning.
Ray faced two batters in the fourth without getting an out. He hit Carpenter with a pitch and gave up a single to Pham. The runners scored on sacrifice flies by Peralta and Molina.
Bourjos' homer to left came on the first pitch he saw from Randall Delgado in the seventh inning.
Reliever Evan Marshall visited Chase Field for the first time since he was struck in the head by a line drive while pitching for the Diamondbacks' Triple-A Reno affiliate in El Paso three weeks ago. Marshall's jaw was fractured and he had bleeding in his brain. Speaking publicly for the first time, Marshall said he had only minutes to live and wouldn't have survived had doctors not acted so quickly. His wife Ani called it a "terrifying" experience but says she can't wait to see her husband back on the mound.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley (shoulder) was activated from the 15-day DL and assigned to Reno.
Cardinals: RHP John Lackey (8-8, 2.99 ERA) makes his team-leading 26th start of the season as the Cardinals try to clinch the four-game series.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (3-3, 4.30) makes his 10th start since coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Link to box score: St. Louis (80-45) 9 at Arizona (62-63) 1