Last night was an offensive tug of war of sorts between the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks, but this evening’s theme was the duel on the mound between Zack Godley and Kevin Gausman. Have to give Godley the credit he deserves tonight as he challenged adversity head on and did not allow the wheels to fall off when he got into trouble early.
Atlanta got to Godley fairly quickly, and it appeared that we were going to witness another adventure of a start from Zack. The first four Braves hitters in the bottom of the second reached base safely. Nick Markakis singled to right field and then advanced to second base when former D’back for a millisecond, Dansby Swanson, drew a full count walk. Brian McCann, in his first game returning from the 10 day injured list, blasted a loud double off the right field wall. Jarrod Dyson fielded it on the rebound while Markakis scored easily from second. Dyson’s relay throw went to Ketel Marte, and the Braves waved Swanson around. A clean throw may have had a chance to cut Swanson down, but Marte threw a tailing slider to Caleb Joseph at home giving Atlanta the quick 2-0 lead.
From that point forward Godley was rock solid, a nice change of pace considering that he has a tendency to allow big innings when things go bad in the early innings. Following the McCann two RBI double, Ender Inciarte had a single to left field, but Godley would retire the next twelve Braves in order. It was a streak that carried through until one out in the bottom of the sixth.
Unfortunately, Kevin Gausman was equally as formidable on the mound tonight for Atlanta. Gausman only allowed two D’backs runs himself on a measly three hits while striking out ten. Gausman’s former Baltimore Orioles teammate, Adam Jones, broke the seal for Arizona with a first pitch solo blast to left field in the fourth with two outs. Arizona would not score again until the top of the seventh inning with two outs. Peralta led off that inning with a single up the middle, but neither Jones or Christian Walker could advance him. Marte redeemed himself for the errant throw earlier and drove him in with a double to right center to tie the score at two runs apiece.
The bullpens took over for both teams from that point forward, Godley being replaced in the seventh while Gausman was able to complete that inning. Zack walked the only batter he faced in the seventh, McCann, and was then lifted in favor of Matt Andriese. He was able to shut the door on the inning by inducing a force out and two strikeouts, sandwiching a walk in between. Most impressive is that he was able to battle back from down 3-0 to Donaldson to strike him out and record the final out of the inning.
Archie Bradley followed him in relief and was tasked with handling the eighth and ninth innings having not pitched in nearly a week. Bradley was impressive early striking out Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. in succession to begin the eighth. The bottom of the ninth was slightly rockier, but that was largely a result of the score being tied at two. Ender Inciarte hit a one out double down the left field line to put the winning run in scoring position. Atlanta’s scoring threat would not come to pass as both Johan Camargo and Ozzie Albies harmlessly popped out to end the inning and take the game to extras.
Atlanta announced today that they would be without their closer Arodys Vizcaino for the rest of the season due to labrum surgery. Their bullpen was shaky last night, and Jesse Biddle literally gifted the D’backs the go ahead run in the tenth. His command was awful whether he was throwing to home or first base. Tim Locastro dropped a pinch hit bunt right back to Biddle with one out. Biddle fielded the ball cleanly, but threw it into foul territory allowing Locastro to advance to second. Biddle was clearly rattled from that point walking Jarrod Dyson on four straight pitches. Eduardo Escobar came to the plate with the tying run at second and only one out and hit a sinking liner to center. The only problem was that he had to challenge a Gold Glove winner in Ender Inciarte who was able to snare it on a dive. Had it dropped in under Ender’s glove, both Dyson and Locastro would have scored.
Biddle followed that defensive gem by issuing back to back walks to Peralta and Jones bringing in the go head run for Arizona. Greg Holland took the mound in the bottom of the tenth attempting to secure his fourth save of the season. Holland struck out Donaldson and Freeman respectively, and after giving up a single to Acuna he recorded the final out of the game on a Nick Markakis flyout. Holland has now yet to allow a run in his first seven appearances of the season. Lets hope he can continue that stability out of the closer role throughout the majority of the season. Arizona comes from behind to win this contest 3-2. The D’backs will attempt a three game sweep tomorrow at breakfast time.
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I feel you on that sentiment my friend. Atlanta has perhaps the premier organist in the game behind Bobby Freeman in Matthew Kaminski, and they choose to blast the Tomahawk Chop until your ears bleed.