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Diamondbacks 5, Milwaukee 2: All’s Well that Ends Well

A lot of dicey moments in this one, but Robbie Ray earned the W as our offense did enough and our bullpen bent but did not break...

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s always nice to stake your starting pitcher a lead before he even takes the mound. That’s even nicer, after the dearth of offense we’ve seen from the Diamondbacks over the first two games of this series. Ketel Marte led off the game with a single to third. Tim Locastro then hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Marte at second, but as he does, Locastro then promptly stole second to give us our first RISP against Brewers starter Zach Davies. Eduardo Escobar, playing 2B today (at least initially), flew out to Lorenzo Cain in center, making me concerned that we were going to squander an early opportunity to do some damage. I shouldn’t have been worried, however, as Christian Walker took the count to 3-0 before launching a moonshot to left field:

Jake Lamb flew out to left to end the inning, but at least we were on the board. 2-0 Diamondbacks

Robbie Ray then took the mound in his first start since he had to exit the August 14 game in Colorado after two innings with back spasms. Early results were promising, as he struck out the first two he faced. Then he gave up back-to-back singles to Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun, which was worrisome. However, he induced first baseman Yasmani Grandal to line out to Jose Rojas in left to end the frame.

The second and third innings passed quietly for both teams, with the Diamondbacks going down in order and Robbie Ray pitching around a walk in each inning to keep Milwaukee off the board.

In the fourth inning, the game got interesting again, first in a good way and then in a not-so-good way. Eduardo Escobar led off the fourth with this:

Christian Walker followed with a double down the left field line. Jake Lamb drew a walk, but was forced at second on a Jose Rojas grounder that allowed Walker to advance to third and allowed Rojas to reach first. Nick Ahmed followed with another fielder’s choice ball to Grandal at first, who elected (tardily) to throw home. Walker, trying to score from third, beat the throw:

It felt like we could have gotten more, but sadly Alex Avila struck out for the second time in as many at bats, and Ray flew out to center for the third out. 4-0 Diamondbacks

It would have been nice to see a shut-down bottom of the fourth from Robbie to keep the momentum going, but alas, it was not to be. Ryan Braun led off with a double to left. What followed was the next four batters going to full counts against Ray, with the results being strikeout, walk, line out, walk. The Brewers elected to pinch hit for Davies, and thankfully Ray was able to get Trent Grisham (who homered last night off Zac Gallen) to ground out to short. No runs crossed the plate, but it was an excruciatingly tense half-inning. Ray started the inning having thrown 54 pitches; by the time it was over, his pitch count had reached 90. Yikes.

Happily, however, we tacked on a fifth run in the top of the fifth, as Marte led off with a double, and was able to score on a Tim Locastro infield hit (his first of two in the game) that also included a throwing error by Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura. Walker also hit a single, bringing him within a triple of the cycle after three at bats, but we weren’t able to do anything more. 5-0 Diamondbacks

Ray came out for the bottom of the fifth despite the elevated pitch count, and actually recorded his first clean inning, sitting down the top of the Brewers lineup in order. He ended his day with 5IP, 3H 6K, 4BB, 103 pitches thrown, and the shutout intact.

Now it was in the hands of the bullpens, and the Brewers did the business, only allowing two hits and a couple of walks the rest of the way, while, between the sixth and eighth innings, striking out seven Diamondbacks batters in a row. Our bullpen was, well, less good. Kevin Ginkel pitched a nice, clean sixth, but Yoan Lopez started the seventh by surrendering a leadoff solo jack to Milwaukee catcher Manny Piña. Lopez then set down the next three, though, to end the inning. 5-1 Diamondbacks

Lopez came back out again to pitch the eighth, and probably shouldn’t have. He allowed a leadoff double to Hiura, followed by a Yelich single (followed by a Yelich stolen base) to put runners on second and third with nobody out, which is always fun. Hiura scored on a Braun sacrifice fly to left, and then Lopez walked Grandal, which earned him the proverbial hook. Andrew Chafin came in to face Brewers pinch hitter Marcus Thames, and after a tense at bat managed to get a swinging third strike call that Thames wasn’t happy about. On the replay it looked to me like Thames had gone around, but it was close, and home plate umpire Lance Barrett had been making fanciful calls all day. Chafin did his job, though, and Archie Bradley came in to retire Piña on a liner to center to bring the inning to a close. 5-2 Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks were unable to do anything in the top of the ninth, aside from Locastro’s second infield hit of the game. Bradley came back to close out the ninth, and Archie being Archie, made it interesting. He gave up a one-out double to Cory Spangenberg (who had come into the game in some double switch somewhere--there was a lot of that going on today), who advanced to third on a Lorenzo Cain groundout to second. Bradley then walked Hiura to bring none other than Christian Yelich to the plate as the tying run. Yelich ran the count full against Archie, and then, finally, on the eighth pitch of another very stressful at bat, managed to retire Yelich on another groundout to second. Whew!

WIN PROBABILITY (courtesy of FanGraphs):

Over the Moon: Robbie Ray, +22.3 WPA (pitching)
Among the Stars: Christian Walker, +20.9 WPA
In a Decaying Orbit: Yoan Lopez, -9.9 WPA

We had 337 total comments today in the Gameday Thread, thanks to 14 more or less prolific commenters. I was sadly unable to join you all, as I was having all sorts of trouble actually finding a way to watch the game, rather than just listening on the radio. Big props to all who were present and accounted for: AzDbackfanInDc, DBacksEurope, Gore4HOF, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Justin27, Keegan Thompson, Michael McDermott, MrMrrbi, Rockkstarr12, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten

I must say, however, that y’all are stingy with your rec’s—nobody got more than two. For shame! However, because it completely echoes what runs through my mind every time this guy appears in a game that I’m watching/listening to/whatever, CoTG goes to Rockkstarr12:

Join us again tomorrow as we continue on to San Francisco as LHP Alex Young faces off against that feared Giants starter TBD!!!!! First pitch is 6:45pm Arizona time. As always, thanks for reading, and GO D-BACKS!