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Bradley’s scoreless streak for D-backs ends with blown save, loss to Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley heads to the dugout after giving up a two-run, walkoff home run to Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado in the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, in Denver. The Rockies won 7-6. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If there winds up being a point in the schedule to circle as the defining swing in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season, for the second straight year, it might wind up being a blown save by Archie Bradley.

With the D-backs three outs away from sweeping the Colorado Rockies after breaking a 5-5 deadlock in the top of the ninth, Bradley gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to Nolan Arenado and Arizona lost 7-6.

It was a demoralizing loss considering how the D-backs arrived there.

Starting pitcher Robbie Ray only pitched two innings due to back spasms, leaving the last seven innings to the bullpen.

The bullpen didn’t do Arizona any favors, though, unlike the past two games of the series. Matt Andriese gave up a run in his three innings while Yoshihisa Hirano had three runs on his record after giving up a three-run homer to Ryan McMahon in the sixth.

The series trend that did hold up was the D-backs offense being there to carry the load. That McMahon homer tied the game 5-5 because of Ketel Marte’s RBI double and Wilmer Flores’ RBI single in the first along with Eduardo Escobar’s two-run homer and Flores’ solo shot in the sixth.

The tie held until the ninth when Marte’s bloop single scored Jake Lamb all the way from first.

It was a fitting sequence that felt like a representation of the 2019 D-backs, a team that was going to keep fighting and finding ways to win despite a roster many had ruled out as a potential playoff team.

That got us to the bottom half, where warning signs for Bradley showed when he hit Trevor Story on a 1-2 count.

Bradley challenged Arenado on the first pitch of the at-bat with a 95 MPH fastball up and in, a pitch that Arenado absolutely mashed to deep left to end the game.

Bradley’s loss and two earned runs broke a streak of 14 straight scoreless outings and 17.1 innings that dated back to June 26. During that streak, Bradley unofficially replaced closer Greg Holland as the situational arm for D-backs manager Torey Lovullo to use when a save situation arose in the ninth. Bradley had picked up a save in four of his last five appearances.

With the loss, the D-backs as of Tuesday afternoon are three games out of the second National League Wild Card spot. That is sixth place behind the two top wild card teams, the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals, along with the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

The D-backs will look to bounce back at home as they start a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.

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