The Rockies dug themselves into a season-long hole after tumbling to a 15-27 start. They showed flashes of their championship form from a year ago, but they were never able to go on a run resembling last season's late surge.
Before Sunday's game, Hurdle insisted he's seen enough positives to feel his team can become a contender in 2009.
"We're disappointed in the way the season has gone, and we've got to make every attempt to rebound and get back in a place that's much more competitive," he said. "You look at the core players, and I think there were enough great spots the second half of the season to see good things starting to happen again."
On Sunday, Greg Reynolds, the second overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, might have pitched himself out of the Rockies' 2009 plans. The D-backs hit him for six runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings. They batted around in the first, and three of their six hits in the inning were doubles. Before the Rockies even had a chance to bat, they were behind, 5-0.
"It's frustrating to have bad outings," Reynolds said. "But you've got to have a short-term memory. After a bad outing, you've just got to get back on track and keep working hard."
Reynolds gave up a home run to Chris Young to lead off the fourth, and after walking Adam Dunn on four pitches, Reynolds was replaced by Matt Herges. In Reynolds' past three starts, he's given up 20 runs on 23 hits in just 4 2/3 innings.
"I think it was pretty much the same stuff that's been in play in the past," Hurdle said. "His fastball command is lacking, and that's causing him some challenging situations."
The defense didn't help matters. Seth Smith booted a slow roller to center field in the first, Brad Hawpe threw wildly to second in the fourth, and Troy Tulowitzki muffed a routine grounder in the fifth. All three errors contributed to runs.
It was that kind of day. It's been that kind of season.
Jason Hirsh, still not fully recovered from a strained right shoulder suffered in Spring Training, gave up five runs in an inning of relief, but only three were earned.
Garrett Atkins provided the only offensive fireworks in the fourth, when he hit a three-run homer off Dan Haren to cut the lead to 7-3. It was Atkins' 20th home run of the season, and his third straight year with at least 20 home runs.
Haren (16-8) surrendered three runs on seven hits in six innings. He also tallied a career-high three hits and drove in a run.