The Atlanta Braves have dropped their fourth straight game and second consecutive series. A night after the Braves and Diamondbacks combined for a total of 29 runs, Wednesday's game was a much lower scoring affair.
The game started with Charlie Morton and D-Backs starting pitcher Ryne Nelson both tossing a perfect 1-2-3 first inning. As the night went on, Nelson continued to shine and Morton had a couple blimishes that proved to be the difference.
Christian Walker led off the top of the 2nd inning with a double that was just out of the reach of Michael Harris. Morton just about escaped danger after retiring the next two batters. Arizona's backstop Gabriel Moreno had other plans as he roped a double down the right field line scoring Walker from second and pushed his squad out to a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Marcell Ozuna drove a pitch into the right field bleachers to tie it up 1-1. Anyone who watched Tuesday's game thought to themselves "back and forth we go again."
The Diamondbacks reclaimed the lead the very next inning when a Jake McCarthy single and stolen base to go along with a pair of walks set the stage for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. After falling behind 0-2, Morton hung a breaking ball that Gurriel roped a double down the line scoring two runs. This pushed Arizona out to a 3-1 advantage and they never looked back. Nick Ahmed added an RBI double in the top of the 6th to make the cushion 4-1.
Ryne Nelson was settled down and was sensational. He retired 10 straight Atlanta batters before surrendering a triple to Michael Harris in the bottom of the 6th inning. Harris was stranded at third after a Ronald Acuna groundout and Ozzie Albies pop up.
Nelson finished the night with 7 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB and 5 K's on only 84 pitches. Both runs given up by Ryne Nelson came on solo homeruns (Marcell Ozuna and Austin Riley).
Nick Ahmed contributed another RBI single in the top of the 8th to make the score 5-2.
Things got interesting in the bottom of the 9th when Ronald Acuna Jr. led off with a double. Albies and Riley both flied out to center. Acuna tagged up on Riley's deep flyout to get to third with 2 outs.
With Matt Olson at the plate, the Arizona defense was shifted and Acuna's run was not a concern with a 5-2 lead. Acuna got a walking lead down the line and did not retrieve back after a pitch. Kevin Ginkel who was looking to close the door for the D-Backs didn't take kindly to Acuna's antics and had some words.
This excitment brought game came to a pause and got the Atlanta Braves faithful on their feet. Olson walked and stole second. Sean Murphy came to the plate in the form of the tying run. Ronald Acuna scored on a past ball during Murphy's at bat bringing the Braves one run closer. With the score 5-3 and a runner on third, Sean Murphy grounded out to end the game.
Especially when times are tough, it is important to point out the positives. There are three takeways the Braves can still feel confident about after dropping another game.
1) The pitching was not bad, they just did not make pitches when they needed the most. The majority of Arizona's runs in this series have came with two outs, two strikes on the batter, or both.
2) Eddie Rosario being healthy. Having Rosario back in the lineup is much needed good news for an Atlanta Braves team that is battling more than enough injuries at the moment.
3) Austin Riley is heating up. Riley has homered three times in the past two games and is putting together some really good at-bats. Even his outs are impressive when he starts swinging the bat like this. The Braves will look to feed off this energy from their slugging third basemen in the coming weeks.