Sedona Red Recap: Bullpen implodes in D-backs’ loss to Braves
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks probably won’t mind seeing the Atlanta Braves go away for a while. After being swept in Atlanta to come out of the All-Star break, the D-backs got a little revenge with a 10-2 win on Monday night.
The Braves returned the favor Tuesday.
Three different Atlanta hitters homered – including Kurt Suzuki, who went deep twice – as the Braves toppled Arizona 8-3 in front of 25,069 fans at Chase Field.
Six of those eight runs came at the expense of the D-backs’ bullpen, as Arizona failed to capitalize on another strong start by Taijuan Walker. Pitching for the first time since July 14 after missing his last start due to the birth of his son, Walker picked up right where he left off.
The big righty allowed just one earned run over six innings, and even belted a home run of his own. But the bullpen collapsed in a big way, surrendering those six runs over the final three frames.
Despite the loss, the D-backs remain tied with the Rockies, who fell to the Cardinals on Tuesday, for second in the division. They lost another game of cushion on the Cubs, who are four games behind in the wild card race.
Chris Owings made a nice play on a line drive off the bat of Nick Markakis that seemed destined for center field in the second inning.
Walker led off the bottom of the fifth with his first career home run. And it was a long one. As in, 455 feet long.
Walker has quietly been very effective on the mound, holding the opposition to three runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts.
Brandon Drury’s throwing error in the top of the fourth opened the door for Atlanta to take a 1-0 lead.
After Owings doubled home the tying run in the sixth, making it 2-2, Arizona put runners on first and second with just one out. No one could bring home the go-ahead run though. That was the story for the D-backs, who left 11 stranded and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position until a ninth-inning RBI by Paul Goldschmidt.
Suzuki homered to deep left center off J.J. Hoover in the seventh to give the Braves a 4-2 lead. He homered again one inning later to blow the game open.
Hoover had a forgettable night all around, giving up four runs (three were earned) in just a third of an inning.
Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Phillips both scored with two outs in the seventh on a throwing error by Chris Iannetta, who was attempting to pick off Rodriguez at third base.
Arizona had another rally fall apart in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on first and second and just one out, both J.D. Martinez and Owings struck out.
Even the normally reliable Andrew Chafin surrendered back-to-back homers in the eighth.
STAT OF THE GAME
13: Number of months since a Diamondback pitcher had hit a home run prior to Walker’s blast tonight. Robbie Ray hit one off Chris Archer in a game against Tampa on June 6, 2016.
HE SAID IT
“The big moment in this game was the transition from the sixth to the seventh. We made a little bit of noise, looked like we were going to break the game open. Their starter, Foltynewicz, stood on his stuff, got through the inning, gave his team a boost. And, obviously, the breakdown in a couple of areas hurt us in the top of the seventh inning.” – D-backs manager Torey Lovullo
– Lovullo turned 52 Tuesday.
– David Peralta fouled a pitch sharply off his knee in the sixth but was able to stay in the game.
– Prior to the game, Peralta presented the Kellis High School baseball team with championship rings for the 5A state title that they captured back in May. He worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to cover the cost of the rings, then handed them out to each member of the team at a ceremony in the First Base Lounge.
The two clubs will meet again at Chase Field on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is set for 12:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at noon on ESPN 620.
Patrick Corbin (7-9) will get the nod for Arizona, and he’s been pitching well lately. He’s delivered quality starts in five of his last seven outings overall and has a 2.41 ERA over his last three starts at Chase Field.
The 28-year old lefty picked up a win in his last appearance on July 20 in Cincinnati, allowing just one earned run over 7.1 innings. He’s 3-0 with a 0.59 ERA in six career matchups with the Braves.
Jaime Garcia was originally slated to pitch this game for Atlanta, but they traded him to Minnesota on Monday. So it appears former D-back Aaron Blair will step in for the spot start. The 25-year old righty has yet to throw a Major League pitch this season, but he did make 15 starts for the Braves last season, going 2-7 with a 7.59 ERA.