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Braves 8, Diamondbacks 3: Walker’s return marred by bullpen meltdown

Taijuan Walker had a nice return from paternity leave (Congratulations!!!) but the bullpen couldn’t hold it together

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Taijuan Walker took the mound against the Atlanta Braves tonight, the first time since he welcomed a new baby into the family, and he did well. In fact, the only base runner he allowed in the first three innings was Freddie Freeman on a HBP. He struck out two in the first and K’d the side in the third.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks weren’t being much more effective against Mike Foltynewicz, though they did get more baserunners. In the first, A.J. Pollock got a one out single, and Paul Goldschmidt got a two out walk before Foltynewicz struck out J.D. Martinez to end the inning, and with two outs in the second, Chris Iannetta walked and Walker singled before David Peralta grounded out to end that inning.

The fourth wasn’t as kind to Walker as the previous three innings. Freeman singled to lead off the inning. Drury threw the ball away and allowed Matt Kemp to reach first and Freeman to go to third. Nick Markakis walked. That loaded the bases for Mike Adams and brought Mike Butcher out for a visit. That ended in Adams grounding out but driving home a run to put the Braves on the board. Kurt Suzuki flew out after that to end the inning. 1-0 Braves

That started a couple innings of swapping solo runs between the teams. Walker lead off the bottom of the fifth with a deep solo home run, the first of his career and the first by a Diamondbacks pitcher this season. Kemp had a solo home run of his own for the Braves in the top of the sixth, and the Diamondbacks added one more on a Chris Owings RBI double in the bottom. Tied at 2

The seventh saw J.J. Hoover replace Walker as the Dbacks’ pitcher, and it couldn’t really have gone much worse. He gave up a single to Adams and a home run to Suzuki before recording the first out. After he got Johan Carmago to fly out, he walked Sean Rodriguez and gave up a single to Ender Inciarte.

After that, Lovullo pulled him in favor of Andrew Chafin. He got Brandon Phillips to hit a ground ball, erasing the runner at second but walked Freeman, bringing Kemp to the plate. With Kemp batting, Iannetta thought he caught Sean Rodriguez sleeping and tried to pick him off at third. The only problem was Jake Lamb was about ten feet away from the base. The ball was launched up the third baseline, allowing Rodriguez and Phillips to score. After they just put Kemp on first, Markakis mercifully grounded out to end the inning. 6-2 Braves

Suzuki and Carmago hit back to back home runs in the eighth, and Goldschmidt got an RBI single in the ninth, but the game was effectively over after the seventh. As Michael McD put on Twitter, this was pretty much the best line up the Dbacks had to offer, but that doesn’t do you much good if you leave 11 runners on base and give up two crooked numbers after your starter leaves.

Great Job!: Taijuan Walker(hitting) 16.4%
You suck! J.J. Hoover -33.1%

Day game tomorrow, so join us if you can!