Pitching for the first time in almost two months at Chase Field, Zack Greinke made himself right at home.
His six-inning effort, Welington Castillo’s three RBI plus home runs from Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and Jean Segura added up to an impressive performance by the Arizona Diamondbacks, few of which have been seen this season.
That was until the bullpen erased it all away.
As if the tide had come in, all that had been accomplished ahead of the eighth inning was washed out to sea.
One night after rallying for four runs in the final two innings to win, the visiting Atlanta Braves scored five runs in the eighth and ninth to send the game into extra innings.
And in the 11th, Brandon Drury hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to win it for the D-backs, 10-9, taking game three of the four-game set in front of the second-smallest crowd of the season on Wednesday.
Only 15,376 arrived downtown—fewer remained when Drury recorded his second career walk-off plate appearance at 11:26 p.m.—for the D-backs’ second win of the series and third in five games overall.
Though saddled with the no-decision, Greinke remained perfect (4-0) over his last six starts at Chase Field by allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
The walk total matched a season-high.
The D-backs jumped in front 3-0 on Castillo’s RBI double in the first and two-run single in the third.
They extended the lead to 6-2 on home runs from Segura (solo) and Lamb (two-run) in the fifth.
Goldschmidt added his own two-run shot in the seventh, when the D-backs added three more runs for a 9-4 advantage.
Unfortunately, the bullpen, which entered the day with a major league-high 5.14 ERA, couldn’t keep the Braves off the scoreboard after that.
The D-backs’ first six runs were charged to Braves starter Julio Teheran (3-10), who in his second appearance since returning from the disabled list suffered the loss after six innings of work.
He’s now gone eight straight starts without a win.
Going into the series-finale, the D-backs have won five of six from the Braves this season.
That’s a nice switch. After watching the Braves score in the first inning in games one and two of the series, the D-backs returned the favor. Michael Bourn smashed a one-out triple into the right-center gap. Two batters later, Castillo drove him home, lining a 2-1 pitch the opposite way into right field for a 1-0 lead. By the way, the Bourn three-base hit was his fifth and the team’s 48th, matching the single-season franchise record (also: 2015).
Following his first-inning triple, Bourn singled in the third, making him 5-for-11 in the series against the team that released him just before the season began. Oops. And as he did in the first, he scored on Castillo’s base hit, a single through the left side on a 1-2 pitch that also brought Goldschmidt home to put the D-backs in front, 3-0. Bourn, who finished 4-for-6, has now recorded two or more hits in seven of his last 14 games (.356, 21-for-59).
The answer: Freddie Freeman. The question: Who was Greinke’s 2,000th career strikeout victim? Freeman swung and missed on a 2-2 pitch to lead off the fourth inning. It was Greinke’s fifth strikeout of the game and the second time in as many at-bats that Freeman went down swinging. Greinke, who received a nice ovation from the crowd, became the 78th pitcher in MLB history to reach the milestone. And yes, the ball was tossed into the dugout.
Certainly not known for his power, Segura blasted his career-high tying 12th home run of the season to lead off the fifth inning, handing the D-backs a 4-2 lead. He connected on a 1-2 offering that banged off the LED advertisement sign in left-center field. Segura also tied his career-high with 50 RBI, matching his total from a year ago. By the way, the 12 home runs hit by Segura are one more than his combined total from 2014 (5) and 2015 (6).
Safe to say Lamb is no longer in a slump, or at least is starting to swing the bat better. After a pair of doubles and two RBI last night, he homered in his third at-bat, connecting on a 2-1 pitch. It was a two-out, two-run shot over the right field fence that increased the D-backs’ lead to 6-2 in the fifth inning. For Lamb, it was his 25th home run of the season and his first since Aug. 7 against Milwaukee, a drought of 57 plate appearances over 13 games.
Quite the milestone for Goldschmidt. With his two-run home run in the seventh inning, he became the third first baseman since 1974 to record 20+ doubles, 20+ homers and 20+ stolen bases in consecutive seasons, joining Jeff Bagwell (1996-97) and Ryan Klesko (2000-01). The home run landed in the camera well in straight-away center field and put the D-backs up, 8-4. It scored Bourn, who tripled, his sixth and the team’s record-breaking 49th.
Walks. They’ll burn a pitcher on most nights. They did Greinke. A pair of one-out free passes both scored in the fifth inning as the Braves finally broke through on the scoreboard. Jace Peterson and Chase d’Arnaud touched home plate on Inciarte’s two-out double. The fifth hit of the series for Inciarte, the former D-back, made it a 3-2 ballgame as he grounded an 0-1 pitch down the left field line and into the corner.
For the third time it faced Greinke, the heart of the order for the Braves combined for three hits, two RBI and two runs scored in the sixth inning. With one out, Matt Kemp singled. Markakis doubled Kemp home. Flowers then plated Markakis with a single to left field. The pair of runs pulled the Braves to within two, 6-4. For Markakis, it was his fifth hit and third RBI of the series.
Of course, no D-backs game would be complete without some leakage out of the bullpen. On this night, call it a tidal wave of ineffectiveness. First, Edwin Escobar allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the eighth inning, making the score 9-5. Then in the ninth, Enrique Burgos pitched to four batters. They all reached base. They all scored. And just like that the game was tied at 9. Burgos failed to record a single out.
STAT OF THE GAME
4:46: For those that endured the 11-inning, 12-pitching change affair that meant staying at the ballpark for nearly five hours.
HE SAID IT
“Very proud of the guys for battling. I know a lot of guys are sore, so we’ll have to reevaluate our bullpen tomorrow to figure out who we can pitch,” manager Chip Hale said. “Just happy to get in here (for the postgame interview); get some sleep.”
– Greinke became the sixth fastest pitcher—among active pitchers—to reach the 2,000 strikeout milestone.
– Goldschmidt became the fifth first baseman since 1974 to record 20+ stolen bases in consecutive years.
– Bourn became the sixth different player in franchise history to record two or more triples in a single game.
– Phil Gosselin recorded his 16th pinch-hit of the season, the most in baseball, by singling in the sixth inning.
– The D-backs have a franchise-record 31 stolen bases this month; the previous record was 30 in May of 1999.
– The Braves announced in the top of the second inning that outfielder Jeff Francoeur had been traded to Miami.
– Yasmany Tomas was not in the lineup because of mid-back tightness; the injury is not considered serious.
– Wearing their red alternate uniforms with red gradient “D” cap and red helmet, the D-backs are now 6-7.
– Though it was 94 degrees at first-pitch, the game was played with the roof closed due to the threat of rain.
– D-backs did not take pregame on-field batting practice, choosing instead to hit in the indoor batting cages.
The reigning National League Player of the Week, left-hander Robbie Ray, takes the mound in the series-finale on Thursday. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Matt Wisler. First-pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Ray (7-11) earned the league’s weekly honor after going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA (2 ER in 19.0 IP) with 18 strikeouts in beating the Mets and Padres; only the second time this season he’s won back-to-back stars.
Never has he put together a three-game winning streak.
Ray is coming off perhaps his most dominating performance, holding the Padres to one run on one hit, a home run, with one walk and a career-high 13 strikeouts in seven innings.
Ray has made only on other career appearance against the Braves. That came last season when he suffered the loss giving up three runs on six hits with four walks in 4.1 innings; part of a five-start losing streak in August.
Meanwhile, Wisler (4-11) will be making his first start since July 28 after being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Braves had optioned Wisler following a four-start stretch in which he was 0-3 with a 10.18 ERA (23 ER in 20.1 IP) with nine home runs allowed.
Wisler has never faced the D-backs.