Grit Index: D-backs bullpen falters late in loss to Braves
The Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen squandered a one-run lead, giving up seven runs in a costly eighth inning.
The D-backs fell to the Braves 11-5 at Turner Field on Saturday afternoon.
David Hernandez (4-5) blew his fifth save of the season, surrendering four earned runs on two hits in 0.1 of an inning. Tony Sipp then came in to replace Hernandez, but didn't fare much better. Sipp was tagged for three runs on two hits with a walk in also 0.1 of an inning. J.J. Putz, who was reinstated from the 15-day DL prior to the game, stopped the bleeding for Arizona.
Left-fielder Jason Kubel also committed a costly throwing error that gave the Braves a 6-5 lead in the decisive eighth inning. Kubel bounced a throw intended for cutoff man Eric Chavez, which allowed Andrelton Simmons to score.
Center fielder A.J. Pollock hit a game-tying two-run home run in the sixth inning off Braves' starter Tim Hudson. The blast was Pollock's sixth longball of the season.
Catcher Miguel Montero hit his fifth home run of the year off Atlanta reliever Jordan Walden in the top of the eighth inning, staking Arizona to a short-lived 5-4 lead.
Beside the seven runs allowed by the D-backs bullpen, Arizona hurlers also walked seven and hit three batters.
Ian Kennedy extended the D-backs' starters string of winless outings. Arizona has now gone 21 straight games without a member of their rotation recording a victory.
Kennedy pitched 4.1 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Kennedy surrendered three of those walks (to load the bases) before getting pulled in the fifth inning. He is now 1-4 with a 6.28 ERA in 10 road starts.
The D-backs' right-hander made his first start since serving a 10-game suspension in connection with the D-backs' brawl against the Dodgers on June 11.
• The D-backs have now lost four of their last five games.
• Former D-backs' right-fielder Justin Upton went 3-for-4 with two runs scored against his old teammates.
• The Braves notched their NL-leading 23rd come-from-behind win.
The D-backs and Braves will play the series-finale of their three-game set on Sunday, June 30 at Turner Field. Right-hander Trevor Cahill (3-9, 4.29) will get the start for the D-backs. He will be opposed by left-hander Paul Maholm (8-6, 3.75).
Daria Del Colliano, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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