The Atlanta Braves recorded one five-run inning and one four-run inning on a night in which they hit three home runs and seven different players scored. It wasn’t enough.
The Arizona Diamondbacks countered with their own offensive streak, capitalizing on several Braves errors to win Tuesday 16-13 in one of the wildest games of the MLB season.
The Diamondbacks opened the game with a two-run first-round win. The Braves countered with five runs in the bottom half. Then came chaos in the second half when Diamondbacks right fielder Corbin Carroll made the night’s most bizarre play.
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3-base strikeout puts Arizona ahead
With the game tied 5-5 in the second inning, Carroll suffered a 2-2 pitch with an out against Braves starter Bryce Elder. He swung and missed a strikeout at a speed of 83 mph.
But the field eluded the control of catcher Sean Murphy, who chased the ball down the third baseline. He tracked it down and fired it at the first to knock Carroll out. Instead, the ball sailed past first baseman Matt Olson and bounced off the wall. By the time the Braves took control of the ball and the situation, Carroll had safely reached third base.
Ketel Marte scored on that play and gave the Diamondbacks a 6-5 lead. Elder was charged with a wild throw and Murphy with a throwing error. Carroll finally scored from a Christian Walker single and extended the lead to 7-5. Walker’s RBI capped a five-run inning in Arizona that started with a leadoff home run by Emmanuel Rivera.
Misses costly for Atlanta
The defensive errors boded well for the future for the Braves, who committed three errors. The third was possibly the most expensive. When the game ended 13-13 early in the ninth game, Diamondbacks midfielder Alek Thomas hit a dribbler towards first base with Jake McCarthy first and having no outs. But Olson huffed as he tried to catch the ball.
Instead of a possible double play, McCarthy ended up in third place and Thomas was securely in second place and had no outs. Geraldo Perdomo doubled on the next swing into midfield, scoring both goals and giving Arizona a 15-13 lead. Marte added an RBI single that scored Perdomo for an unnecessary insurance run. The Braves didn’t score in the bottom half of the inning and the Diamondbacks earned a decisive win.
The game saw six lead changes and three ties before the Diamondbacks secured the Finals. Braves third baseman Austin Riley hit not one, but two home runs. A three-run blast against Diamondbacks starter Zach Davies gave Atlanta a 9-8 lead in the fourth round. That pitch ended Davies’ night.
Riley then launched a straight two-run home run over the midfield wall in the 6th inning in front of substitute Austin Adams, giving the Braves a 13-12 lead.
But an unheralded newcomer countered Riley’s exploits. While the Braves still led 13-12 in game eight, Diamondbacks rookie Dominic Canzone got his fledgling baseball career break. He delivered. The 25-year-old designated hitter brought an 85-mile splitter into right field by Braves substitute Kirby Yates. Walker scored the first goal of Canzone’s career in third place and equalized the game with 13:13.
Only a diving catch by left fielder Kevin Pillar on a Rivera line drive saved the Braves from further damage in the inning. But it didn’t save her from losing the game.
In the end, the teams combined for 19 runs with 27 hits (Diamondbacks, 16; Braves, 11). The Diamondbacks utilized six pitchers while the Braves employed seven. Each team recorded three home runs. Walker compared Riley to two of his own. With 2 home runs, 1 walk, 5 RBI and 3 runs scored, he finished 3 to 5 on the plate. Riley finished the game 3-5 with 2 homers, 3 runs scored and a game-best 7 RBI.
The difference in the game played is shown in the error column. While the Braves scored three, the Diamondbacks didn’t score. And they leave the game with a valuable win, improving to 53-42, which was then good for third place in a tight race at NL West, 2.5 games behind the first-placed Los Angeles Dodgers. By the end of the game, they were safely in the wild card field, a half game ahead of the Miami Marlins at 53-44.
With a best baseball record of 61-32, the Braves continue to maintain firm control of the NL East. But the next time they step onto the field, they would certainly like to play a cleaner game.