PHOENIX — The first pitch sailed behind Ryan Braun. The second pitch nailed him in his left side.
The pitch immediately following all of the fun — ejection, warnings, fist bumps and high fives — may still be airborne.
The Arizona Diamondbacks dropped their second straight game, losing 7-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers in front of an announced crowd of 18,148 at Chase Field on Tuesday. But the result took a back seat to those three pitches in the seventh inning.
With one out and runners on second and third, rookie reliever Evan Marshall plunked Braun, an admitted cheater who was instrumental for the Brewers in the National League Division Series against the Diamondbacks in 2011.
“Gameplan there (with) guys in scoring position, we’re trying to create some soft contact,” Marshall said. “My best stuff is to work sink down (and) in. The ball got away. I got him. That’s just what happened.”
Marshall was immediately ejected, the first of his career, while home plate umpire and crew chief Ted Barrett warned both benches.
Walking off the field to a standing ovation, Marshall was greeted at the top step of the dugout by a fist bump from manager Kirk Gibson and then several high fives from his teammates.
“They just were able to recognize that I was going out there and trying to get guys out and perform for my team,” Marshall said.
The vibe changed on the very next pitch.
Jonathan Lucroy greeted Brad Ziegler’s first offering and deposited the baseball on to the concourse in left-center field, clearing the bases for the third grand slam of his career and the first one ever given up by Ziegler.
“It was a fastball,” Ziegler said. “I got too much plate, left it up a little bit. He’s a really good hitter right now. He’s been on fire the whole season. He just didn’t miss it.”
And the Diamondbacks, with the Padres losing, missed an opportunity to climb out of last place in the NL West for the first time since April 1.
Ten pitches into the first inning, the Diamondbacks had the bases loaded against Kyle Lohse: Didi Gregorius was hit by a pitch, Gerardo Parra singled and Paul Goldschmidt walked. All three runners scored. Miguel Montero drove home the first run with a bloop single to shallow left and then Martin Prado and David Peralta followed with back-to-back run-scoring fielder’s choice ground outs.
Montero, by the way, has now reached base safely in 18 of his last 20 games, batting .311 (23-for-74) with five home runs and 16 RBI.
Prado would drive in a second run four innings later on a single to center. It was his 400th career RBI.
Roger Kieschnick’s ninth-inning home run, the first of his career, landed in the pool.
A shutdown inning: When a team follows a half-inning in which they scored at least one run with a half-inning in which they allowed no runs. Starter Mike Bolsinger failed in that regard, allowing solo home runs to lead off both the second (Aramis Ramirez) and sixth (Jonathan Lucroy), just moments after the Diamondbacks had scored in the previous half innings.
Bolsinger, by the way, continued the team’s disturbing trend of giving up the long ball. The Diamondbacks have surrendered a major league-high 90 home runs this season.
Goldschmidt walked three times and scored two runs but did not record a hit in either of his two official at-bats, seeing his 10-game hitting streak come to an end.
STAT OF THE GAME
2: The number of pitches it took Evan Marshall to hit Ryan Braun in the seventh and the number of home runs hit by Jonathan Lucroy, including a game slam immediately following the Braun beaning
HE SAID IT
“Honestly, I don’t think there was any intention in anybody’s part,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “I think we were playing the game. It was a good, clean game. They beat us again. That’s disappointing.”
₌ The Brewers have won three straight at Chase Field, the most since a seven-game stretch from Sept. 11, 2009-May 9, 2010
₌ Mike Bolsinger threw a first pitch strike to 20 of the 26 batters he faced, including 11 of the first 13 to start the game; he recorded his second quality start of the season
₌ Last time the Chase Field roof was open for a game this late in the season was June 17, 2011 when Daniel Hudson pitched a complete game victory against the White Sox, according to play-by-play radio voice Greg Schulte.
Wade Miley, with an extra day of rest, looks to end a six-start winless drought when he takes the mound in the third game of a four-game series against Milwaukee on Wednesday, June 18. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Miley (3-6, 4.71) has not registered a win since May 10, going 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA (19 ER in 37.2 IP) since that time. He has not factored in the decision in either of his past two starts.
The Brewers, meanwhile, counter with right-hander Matt Garza (4-4, 4.17), who has nine quality starts, including in each of his past four outings. He’s 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks.