Coincidence? Ironic? Or simply tragic?
Perhaps a little of all three.
On ASU Night at Chase Field, it was former Sun Devil Jake Barrett who helped put the Arizona Diamondbacks in the loss column for the fourth time in six games.
Barrett allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and a walk in his inning of work as the visiting Atlanta Braves rallied for a 7-4 victory in front of an announced crowd of 18,780, many dressed in maroon and gold, Arizona State’s colors.
The win evened the four-game series at a game apiece.
Matt Kemp cleared the bases with a two-out double in the eighth inning, tagging Barrett with a blown save, his fifth, and ultimately the loss as he was unable to protect a 4-3 lead.
The Braves, who had dropped 10-of-12, jumped in front 2-0 thanks to a pair of two-out, first-inning RBIs by Nick Markakis (single) and Tyler Flowers (double) off D-backs starter Archie Bradley.
The lead held until the third inning, when the D-backs scored four times.
Yasmany Tomas delivered a two-out, two-run single. Jake Lamb followed two batters later with a two-out, two-run double, the latter of which knocked Braves pitcher Rob Whalen out of the game.
Whalen had opened his outing with 2.2 hitless innings.
Neither Bradley nor Whalen factored in the decision.
Bradley, who retired the final six batters he faced, has now gone winless over his past five appearances.
Kemp finished with two hits and three RBI.
The Braves outhit the D-backs, 12-5.
It wasn’t until their 13th batter of the game that the D-backs recorded their first hit. It was Tomas, and amazingly it was not a home run. He singled to left field with two outs and the bases loaded, bringing home a pair to tie the game at 2 in the third inning. Tomas entered the game with nine homers in his last 14 games, including homering in four consecutive games at Chase Field, matching the franchise record. Tomas has hit safely in 20 of 23 starts since July 24 at a .319 clip (30-for-94).
Flying out to left field in his first at-bat left Lamb in a 2-for-47 slump since Aug. 7. Then came his second at-bat and Lamb delivered, hitting a 1-2 pitch high and deep to right field, the ball bouncing just inside the line and up into the visitor’s bullpen for a two-out, two-run, ground-rule double. It was all part of a four-run third inning that put the D-backs in front, 4-2. Lamb had seen his batting average drop nearly 30 points over his last 12 games. He finished 2-for-4, and is batting .262.
A night after scoring three first-inning runs, the Braves plated two in the opening frame. All came with two outs. Markakis worked the count full before shooting the ball the opposite way into left field for an RBI single. Four pitches later, Flowers grounded a 2-1 offering down the left field line for an RBI double. By the time Bradley had finally recorded the third out—striking out Dansby Swanson on three pitches—he had thrown 36 pitches in a 17-minute first inning.
Of 10 total Braves base-runners, eight were left on base — so that’s good. But Bradley flirted with disaster in each of the first three innings. Again, only those two runs scored. The Braves, though, left two men on in the second inning and the bases loaded in the third, just as they did in the first. They went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Bradley did throw a ton of pitches — 19 in each of the second and third innings. His pitch-count reached 74 after three innings.
So one night earlier it was Enrique Burgos. On this night, Barrett. The bullpen doors swung open to begin the eighth inning and Barrett was tasked with protecting a 4-3 lead. Two of the first three batters singled. Freddie Freeman walked to load the bases with two outs. That brought up Kemp, who doubled by lining a 1-1 pitch into the right field corner. Two runs scored, and a third crossed home plate when Mitch Haniger had difficulty fielding the baseball.
STAT OF THE GAME
4-for-14: The Braves went 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. The fourth hit was Kemp’s double in the eighth inning.
HE SAID IT
“I just feel it was just the one pitch that hurt me, and that was to Kemp,” Barrett said, referring to the Kemp at-bat in the eighth inning. “I tried to throw inside and I missed away.”
– Tomas left the game in the eighth inning with back stiffness and replaced by Brandon Drury.
– Dansby Swanson recorded the first RBI of his career with a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.
– Welington Castillo finished 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch, ending his eight-game hitting streak.
– Jean Segura was hit by a pitch for the 11th time this season. He was plunked on his left shoulder.
– Wearing their home alternate teal uniforms with teal outline “A” cap, the D-backs are 6-15.
– With a first-pitch temperature of 93 degrees, the roof and panels were closed for the game.
– It was ASU Night which included appearances by ASU AD Ray Anderson, baseball coach Tracy Smith and Sparky.
Almost two months have passed since Zack Greinke last pitched at Chase Field. Of course, a good portion of that time he spent on the disabled list dealing with tightness in his oblique muscle.
Greinke makes his long-awaited return home in Game 3 of the four-game series on Wednesday. He’ll be matched up against fellow right-hander Julio Teheran. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Greinke (11-4) did not factor into the decision in his last outing in San Diego, where he limited the Padres to two runs on seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings of what was a 7-4 D-backs loss.
Greinke, who is undefeated over his last five home starts (4-0), is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in six career starts against the Braves, including a victory earlier this season.
Meanwhile, Teheran (3-9) has gone seven straight starts without a win and only twice during this stretch has he completed seven innings. In each of his past two outings, he went five innings, losing to the Phillies and earning a no-decision against the Nationals.
Against the D-backs, Teheran is 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in six career starts.