Well it’s finally here, this dreaded stretch of games against playoff contenders that will surely give us some idea if this team will make those playoffs or not. They started their ace, Zack Greinke, with hopes he could give the team an early win streak. The best thing Greinke had going for him was a streak of 9 starts with at least 6 innings pitched. He’s been pretty unlucky during that stretch, with a 4-4 record and a 2.18 ERA over that time.
Greinke started well, getting a groundout from the dangerous youngster, Ronald Acuna Jr. But old friend Ender Inciarte, singled and Freddie Freeman reached on an error from Peralta in left, scoring Inciarte from 2nd. A Nick Markakis single scored Freeman and the Braves took a 2-0 lead after the D-backs stranded a leadoff single from A.J Pollock in their half of the 1st.
Greinke calmed down after that, getting the next 6 batters out. Unfortunately, the D-backs followed suit, going down in order.
Markakis singled again to lead off the 4th, and after a close double play opportunity, Kurt Suzuki unloaded on a hanging curveball.
The offense finally responded in their half. With 1 out, Goldy and Peralta singled, with Souza walking to load the bases. Marte popped out to bring up NIck Ahmed, who had this to say.
4-3 Braves after 4.
Greinke and Sanchez traded zeroes in the 5th, but the Braves answered back in the 6th, with Johan Camargo knocking homering to give the Braves some breathing room, 5-3 Braves. After a Suzuki HBP, Albies single and Swanson walk, that was it for Greinke. He went 5 1/3IP, breaking his run. The bullpen came on and did it’s job, with Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler not allowing a run with the bases loaded.
The D-backs had an opportunity in their half of the 6th, with Peralta singling and Souza walking to put a runner in scoring position, but Marte flew out and Ahmed grounded out, ending the inning.
In the 8th, the D-backs again cut the lead. After Goldy doubled, Marte singled to score Goldy, 5-4 Braves. But like in the 1st, the Braves combo of Freeman and Markakis led to another run, this time after Freeman doubled and Markakis singled to give the Braves their 6th run of the game.
It all came down to the 9th, down two runs Christian Walker led with a moonshot to center, just staying in the ballpark for a double. A wild pitch followed, and Pollock flew out, scoring Walker to cut the lead to 6-5. With 2 outs and a 2-2 count to Paul Goldschmidt, Goldy did what Goldy does.
Tie game, 6-6.
But then Boxberger had to muck things up. He started out really well, getting two quick outs. But a single from Swanson and stolen base put him in prime position to score. Flowers singled to Ahmed after he couldn’t hang on to the liner and Acuna Jr. walked, loading the bases and ending Brad’s night. Lovullo brought on Yoshihisa Hirano to face Ender, but a passed ball scored the go-ahead run before Inciarte flew out to center field, 7-6 Braves.
The response by the offense was pitiful, with a 1-out Nick Ahmed walk all the team could muster in their half of the 10th, and that was the ballgame.
☆☆☆ - PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT (3 for 5, 1 HR, 1RBI, 3 R) +57.7% WPA
☆☆ - Nick Ahmed (2 for 4, 3RBI) +31.5% WPA
☆ - Zack Greinke ( 5.1IP, 4ER, 4Ks, 2BBs) -29.8% WPA
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This game was just the worst. Well, that is what happens when you need 8 bullpen members to close out a game after your $32 million man goes 5 1/3rds innings. Come back tomorrow, hopefully they can get back on track before there is still track left.