D-backs can't answer Mariners' late rally
Boxberger blows save in 9th as Arizona drops series
PHOENIX -- The D-backs are off to a slowish start during what could be considered their most daunting stretch of the season.
One out away from a victory Saturday, the D-backs could not hold the lead when closer Brad Boxberger (🎁🍔) gave up a two-run double in the ninth inning, and the Mariners used a 10th-inning homer from Denard Span (D-Span) for a 4-3 victory at Chase Field.
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"We got all the way to the final out of the ballgame and couldn't get it done," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo (Sal) said. "That's the beauty of baseball. That's exactly what brings you back every single day. Crank it up tomorrow, whether you win or lose. The ups and down of this game, you can't even imagine, but that's what makes it so special."
As the D-backs have done since righting themselves in late May, they will turn the page.
Resilience "absolutely" has been a trademark of this group, according to Boxberger.
"There are too many games to ride the roller coaster," he said. "Just keep a level head every day, and every day is a new day."
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A.J. Pollock (Pollo) gave the D-backs a 3-1 lead with a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning, which would have been his third game-deciding plate appearance in five games.
Boxberger, who has converted 28 of 33 save opportunities, walked Jean Segura with one out in the ninth inning before Nelson Cruz grounded a single to right field to send Segura to third. With second baseman Ketel Marte shaded toward the middle, the ball found just enough of a hole.
Boxberger struck out Ben Gamel with his pet changeup but left one up to Seager, whose double landed just fair along the right-field line.
"Got a ground ball that beat the shift," Boxberger said. "It's going to happen. And a ball barely stays fair. He just hit it in the right spot, and that's what happened. That [Cruz's single] would have been a double play had he been shifted in normal position. The numbers told him to shift over, and that's the way it went this time."
The loss dropped the D-backs into a tie with Colorado (both are 71-58) for first place in the National League West when the Rockies used an eight-run eighth inning for a 9-1 victory over St. Louis.
They are prepared for battle. Beginning with the first game of the three-game series against the Mariners in Phoenix Friday, the D-backs were set to play 27 of their final 35 games against teams that are above .500 and likely to stay that way.
The D-backs have seven games remaining against both Colorado and the Los Angeles Dodgers, four against the Braves and three against the Cubs and Astros. Chicago, Atlanta and Houston lead their divisions.
Arizona finishes the season in San Diego, but prior to that has three-game series against the Cubs, Rockies and Dodgers in its final nine-game homestand, Sept. 17-26.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After consecutive singles put Paul Goldschmidt (Goldy) and David Peralta (Freight Train) on the corners to open the last of the 10th inning, Goldschmidt broke for home on Steven Souza Jr.'s (Souz) grounder to third base and was caught in a rundown for the first out of the inning.
"Goldy did everything right," Lovullo said. "You are trained to stay out of a double play. What do you want to do? Do you want to stay at third base and let them turn two, or do you want them to collect the out between home and third and try to advance the runners an extra 90 feet? Unfortunately, they ran a very good rundown and we weren't able to get David to third base. It's a very instinctual play that didn't work out the way we wanted."
Switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar (El De La Pica) is an equal opportunity long-baller. His first-inning homer -- his fourth since coming to Arizona -- came on a 79.9 mph changeup, according to Statcast™. His other three homers have come on two sliders and a two-seam fastball. He also has two homers against righties and two against lefties.
HE SAID IT
"I know there is a better version of what you saw tonight out of Robbie. I think he is aware of that, too. I know he's grinding to get to that." -- Lovullo, on Robbie Ray (Bob), who struck out seven and got out of two bases-loaded jams while working through five innings
Zack Greinke does not have a victory in his last four starts, but the offense has been more than complicit, scoring seven runs while he has been on the mound in those games. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is third in the NL, behind Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom. He'll face Mike Leake in the series finale with the Mariners on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. MST.