Tonight’s crucial game against the Brewers on the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing (celebrated by the Nick Ahmed astronaut bobblehead) started off calmly enough. After two quick outs, Ryan Braun did this thing where he hit the ball to right field and wound up standing on second. It didn’t matter though. Greinke just let that roll off him and struck out his first batter of the evening, sitting down Mike Moustakas to retire the side. In the Diamondbacks’ half of the first, Ketel Marte singled and then took second on a Wild pitch. This was key, as it allowed Marte to come around and score on a single by Christian Walker. Just like that, it was 1-0, good guys in front.
Not much happened in the second inning, though Greinke did record two more strikeouts, bringing his total to three through two innings of work. Despite a walk, in the inning, the Diamondbacks were unable to get anything going in the second.
In the third inning, Greinke picked up where he left off, striking out Gio Gonzalez for his third strikeout in a row. Five more pitches ended the Brewers’ half of the third. Not to be outdone, the Diamondbacks went quietly in the third on six total pitches.
That brought us to the fourth inning. Christian Yelich led off the top of the fourth by hitting a jam-shot blooper to left field against the shift, resulting in a 47 mph exit velocity double. Braun followed that up with a flare into center off the end of the bat that dropped about 40 feet behind the bag to tie the score at one.
Greinke got upset with this and proceeded to record his fifth strikeout of the night by catching Moustakas looking at a fastball at the knees.
Hiura then shot a missile down the third base line that ate Escobar up and got into left. This resulted in a double, putting runners on second and third.
After falling behind Marcus Thames 2-0, Greinke elected to put Thames on via the IBB, loading the bases.
Tyler Saladino came up next and with the bases loaded, was promptly carved up by Greinke as if he were a Thanksgiving Day turkey. That made six strikeouts for Greinke.
That brought up Gio Gonzalez, batting eighth for the Brewers tonight. Gio versus Greinke went about the only way it could have, though the count did go full on a slow curve that hung up and in around Gio’s head. At the end of four, the score was tied at one and Greinke had seven strikeouts.
Game note provided by Jack Sommers: With his strikeout of Gio Gonzalez in the fourth inning, Greinke now has 2,556 career strikeouts, matching Jerry Koosman for 30th on the all-time strikeout list. Next up on the list are Hall-of-Famers Bob Feller (29th, 2581), Warren Spahn (28th, 2583), and Tom Glavine (27th, 2607).
A leadoff walk to Christian Walker in the bottom of the fourth was wasted. Adam Jones struck out and Wilmer Flores hit into a double play.
Grenke continued to dominate the Brewers in the fifth, shaking off a one-out single by Yasmani Grandal. Then the Diamondbacks’ offense went to work. Nick Ahmed led things off in the home half of the fifth with a sharp double. Carson Kelly followed that up with a ringing double of his own. Not wanting to be left out, and also very aware of Arizona’s trouble scoring at Chase Field, Zack Greinke (#PitchersWhoRake) helped his own cause, smacking a double to push Kelly across the plate. Can we just give the Silver Slugger for pitchers to Greinke already? Locastro sacrificed Greinke over to third, but Marte and Escobar proved unable to get him home from there, despite there having been only one out.
The sixth inning brought another strikeout for Greinke, this one against Keston Hiura with one out. Mike Moustakas then homered, making Greinke’s insurance run all the more important. No worries though, Greinke shook off the solo-shot and enticed a fly ball to Marte out of Tyler Saladino.
Greinke took the mound for the seventh inning. The Brewers went threeup, three down. Zack Greinke recorded one final strikeout, a one-out swinging strikeout of Ben Gamel with a changeup in the dirt. At the stretch, Greinke left the game with seven innings of two-run baseball, with nine strikeouts.
The Diamondbacks’ offense continued to sputter in the seventh. They went three up, three down, all by strikeout.
Andrew Chafin came on in the eighth inning to hold the lead for Greinke and the Diamondbacks. He decided to use an unorthodox technique, surrendering a lazy single to Christian Yelich and then walking Ryan Braun. This brought up a mound visit. With nibbling at the edges not working for him, Andrew Chafin doubled down and kept working at nibbling. Down 2-0 to Mike Moustakas, he finally threw a strike, a 94 mph thigh-high fastball on the inner third of the plate. Moustakas showed his appreciation for finally seeing a strike by depositing it in the stands in left center. Having surrendered three runs before getting any outs, a second mound visit in the inning was called for. This seems to have been the ones that had the magic words, because Chafin finally threw strikes, getting the next three hitters out, two via the strikeout.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Diamondbacks got a one-out triple out of Ketel Marte. Once again, with a runner on third and less than two out, the Diamondbacks were unable to push the runner across. Escobar and Walker both went down on strikes, Josh Hader blowing Escobar away with heat above the zone and then getting Walker looking on a pitch that really looked inside live, but shows as a solid strike on pitch tracking.
With the game still only a bloop and a blast away, Torey Lovullo did not send Andrew Chafin back out to pitch the ninth. Instead he added gasoline to the dumpster fire by calling on Zack Godley to come in and pitch the ninth, because that’s what you do in a late-inning, hi-leverage situation of one of the most crucial games of the season. Godley proved himself up to the task of impersonating jet fuel by walking the first two batters of the inning on nine pitches. A mound visit and a strikeout of Yasmani Grandal brought up the National League’s best hitter to the plate. Christian Yelich doubled to center, scoring Orlando Arcia and sending Ben Gamel to third. The flames now sufficiently high to be seen from Apache Junction, Stefan Crichton was brought in to put them out. To his credit he did manage to strike out Mr. I Blame the Mailman. He then intentionally walked Mike Moustakas to load the bases. That brought up Keston Hiura, who singled in Gamel and Yelich before Crichton finally retired Thames to end the top of the ninth.
The bottom of the ninth brought a two-out walk from Nick Ahmed, who took second on defensive indifference before Carson Kelly lined out to center to slam the lid shut on the dumpster in which the Diamondbacks’ season was burning. That’s two stellar outiongs by starting pitching in three games Arizona has managed to squander.
Mr. Awesome: Zack Greinke (pitcher) +21.2%
The Sidekicks: Ketel Marte +5.6%, Carson Kelly +5.6%
#FreeSherfy: Andrew Chafin -58.7%
There was a modestly active Gameday thread with 339 total comments. AzDbackfanInDc tallied almost a third of those, leading the way with 107 comments. He was followed by Michael McDermott with 48 and GuruB with 29.
Rollcall for tonight’s thread was as follows:
AZPerson, AzDbackfanInDc, BigSmarty, BrewerBlue87, DORRITO, DeadManG, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, NikT77, Oldenschoole, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, The-Icon, Ubersnake, kilnborn, piratedan7, ponus, rustynails77, stempke
The Diamondbacks will try to salvage a series split against the Brewers tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. MST with Alex Young facing off against Brandon Woodruff.