D-backs’ bullpen falters late in rubber match with Braves
Jun 4, 2023, 6:39 PM
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen let in five runs, as the D-backs lost 8-5 to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday in front of 32,401 fans at Chase Field.
The D-backs’ (35-25) second loss in a row gave the National League East-leading Braves (35-24) the series win.
The game started to unravel for the D-backs in the seventh inning. Arizona moved to its bullpen with a 5-3 lead that came about due to a solid, yet unspectacular, outing from ace starting pitcher Zac Gallen and excellent two-out hitting in the third and fourth innings.
Andrew Chafin was the pitcher the D-backs called upon in the seventh. After striking out Braves center fielder Michael Harris II, Chafin allowed a single to Atlanta MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. Acuña stole second, and Braves first baseman Matt Olson drove him in with a single to make the game 5-4 Arizona.
The D-backs failed to cross the plate after the fourth inning but held onto the 5-4 lead entering the ninth after a 1-2-3 eighth from RHP Scott McGough.
Arizona called on Miguel Castro to close out the game, but his inning was shaky from the jump as he walked Harris.
Acuña then singled, advancing Harris to third base. Acuña stole second to put both runners in scoring position with no outs. Olson followed with a strikeout before Austin Riley was intentionally walked to set up force situations at every bag. Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud lined out to D-backs shortstop Geraldo Perdomo for the second out.
However, two pitches later, Castro served up a fastball down the middle of the plate that Atlanta left fielder Eddie Rosario tattooed to right field for a grand slam. The home run gave the Braves the 8-5 lead and the win after the D-backs were unable to score in the bottom half of the inning.
Two outs in the 9th, bases loaded, cue Eddie Rosario's music. pic.twitter.com/hAyuSYkv6d
— MLB (@MLB) June 4, 2023
“Rosario’s hot right now,” said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. “He hurt us all series and yeah, it was a middle-middle fastball.”
Rosario hit three home runs in the series with seven RBIs.
The blown save was the D-backs’ 12th of the season, which is tied for third in MLB. When asked if he thinks they will need to acquire another relief pitcher, Lovullo said it is not his decision.
“I don’t know,” Lovullo said. “That’s not my department. I’m sure that if we put ourselves in a position to be buyers over sellers, front office is unbelievable at figuring out what those needs are.”
Arizona will have a day off Monday. The D-backs will resume playing Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. on the road against the Washington Nationals.
The game can be heard on the Arizona Sports app, 98.7 and ArizonaSports.com.
“Obviously this one is going to sting a little bit with a cross country road trip looming,” Gallen said. “But … I think the best case thing for this – it’s going to motivate us. Like I said, not a finished product.”