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D-backs’ Boxberger blows sixth save of the season in loss to Mariners

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Boxberger throws during the ninth inning of the team's baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX – Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher Robbie “Bob” Ray was able to get himself out of several bases loaded jams unscathed, but closer Brad “Box emoji burger emoji” Boxberger who couldn’t escape untouched.

Boxberger’s sixth blown save of the year cost the D-backs late in Saturday’s game as they dropped game two of the series to the Seattle Mariners 4-3 in extra innings.

Former D-back Mitch Haniger started the game with a bang, connecting with a lead-off home run. He has been thriving as a member of the visiting team at Chase Field, going 4-9 with two solo home runs and two walks in the last two games.

The Mariners loaded the bases with one out twice, but Ray was able to battle his way through both without allowing another run.

It forced him into a high pitch count early, though. With his pitch count at 89 after only four innings, Ray was destined for another short outing.

He lasted 5.0 innings, only allowing five hits and the one run. He struck out seven and gave up four walks in a no decision.

This is the seventh consecutive no-decision for Ray. His last decision was a loss on July 12, and the last time he won a game was June 27. The D-backs are 1-6 in those seven starts.

The D-backs couldn’t muster much offensively against Mariners starting pitcher Wade “Frenchy” Leblanc. Eduardo “El De La Pica” Escobar got Arizona on the board with a solo dinger of his own in the first inning, his 19th of the season.

The team was only able to put together four hits and a pair of walks through six innings. But the bats woke up in the bottom of the seventh with a “Slick Nick” Ahmed single to kick things off.

After Ketel “Pike” Marte walked, a sacrifice bunt by John “Choir Boy” Murphy, and Jon “305 J” Jay was hit by a pitch (again), A.J. “Pollo” Pollock came through with a huge two-RBI single to give Arizona a 3-1 lead.

The bullpen combo of Brad Ziegler, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin, and Yoshi Hirano didn’t allow a run in three innings of work.

However, Boxberger was unable to close the door in the ninth.

Boxberger allowed two runs on two hits in the top of the ninth, which tied the game up at 3-3. The D-backs were unable to score in the bottom of the inning, giving fans free baseball.

It didn’t last much longer. Arizona pitcher Jake “Gut It Out” Diekman allowed a solo home run to Denard Span in the tenth, which put the Mariners up for good.

The D-backs were able to make it exciting in the bottom of the tenth. Goldschmidt and Peralta singled to start the inning, but Arizona was unable to plate any runs despite starting the inning with two on and no outs.

Arizona loses in ten innings and will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday.

THE GOOD

–        Ray’s ability to dial-in with the bases loaded was impressive. Three of his seven strikeouts came with the bases loaded and his back against the wall.

–        Pollock’s two-RBI single in the seventh inning was crucial on a night where Arizona was unable to get things going offensively.

–        Escobar has 76 RBI this season, a career high for the third baseman.

–        Brad Ziegler’s Players Weekend nickname is “Unicorn.”

THE BAD

–        Boxberger blew his sixth save of the season in 34 opportunities. His save conversion percentage is 82.3%.

–        With no doubles hit in Saturday’s game, the D-backs ended a 29 consecutive-game streak with at least one double being recorded, dating back to July 22.

–        The D-backs are 5-5 in extra inning games this season and are 64-4 when leading after 8.0 innings.

STAT OF THE GAME

0-9 with RISP – The Mariners were 0-for-9 with runners is scoring position prior to the top of the ninth inning

HE SAID IT

“These are tough losses, and these are very grinding tough losses on ball clubs. But this room, this group over here, has been extremely resilient, very tough, and they’ll be ready to play tomorrow. We can’t do a darn thing about what happened tonight. We have one thing to do and that’s focus on tomorrow.” – Torey Lovullo after the game

NOTED

–        Arizona is now 8-8 in Interleague Play this season, with a 5-4 record at Chase Field. They are 13-6 against the AL at home since 2017.

–        The D-backs continue to lead the league in first inning runs. Arizona now has 112 first inning runs this season.

–        Rough road ahead for the D-backs. Arizona’s remaining opponents this season have a combined winning percentage of .520.

–        34,968 were in attendance for Saturday night’s game. The first pitch was at 5:10 with an indoor temperature of 78 degrees and an outdoor temperature of 100.

UP NEXT

The D-backs will look to bounce back and avoid the three-game sweep on Sunday with staff ace Zack “Greinke” Greinke taking the mound against right-handed pitcher Mike Leake. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Greinke is winless is his last four starts, posting a 2.51 ERA in that span of time. He has a 2.25 ERA in his last five starts at Chase Field and a career ERA of 2.24 against the Mariners.

However, Greinke has not faced Seattle since September 25, 2012.​

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