D-backs dodge Braves' rally to rise in West

Boxberger, Ziegler help keep Atlanta at bay after Corbin's gem

September 8th, 2018

PHOENIX -- The D-backs had seen this movie before and they desperately wanted to change the ending.

When the Braves scored a run in the eighth inning and still had the bases loaded with just one out, it looked like the D-backs could be on the verge of another late-inning loss.

Instead, found a way to limit the damage and get out of the jam with only one more run scoring and closer Brad Boxberger then rewarded his manager's faith in the ninth as the D-backs hung on for a 5-3 win over the Braves on Friday night at Chase Field.

The D-backs picked up a game on the first-place Rockies and now trail Colorado by 1 1/2 games. Arizona remains one game back of the second-place Dodgers, who beat the Rockies on Friday.

The D-backs had lost five of six coming into the game and several of those were gut-wrenching late-inning losses, including three in a row last weekend against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Throughout it all, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo remained steadfast that Boxberger would stay in the closer's role. Boxberger came on with one out in the ninth and retired and to record his 32nd save.

"Not at all," Boxberger said when asked if his confidence had wavered during his recent struggles. "I mean every day is a new day and there's always ups and downs in this game, so it's just a matter of going out there and keeping every day new."

Before Boxberger could close things out, though, Ziegler had to perform a great escape act in the eighth.

, another one of the back-end relievers who has fallen on hard times of late, allowed a single and an RBI double to open the eighth as the Braves cut the lead to 4-2.

One out later, the Braves picked up a pair of infield hits to load the bases, and Lovullo brought in Ziegler, the submarining ground-ball specialist in hopes of getting a double play.

Ziegler nearly got it as hit a grounder to second baseman , who flipped backhand to shortstop Nick Ahmed at second. The ball hit off Ahmed's glove and chest for a rare error as everyone was safe and the Braves trailed 4-3.

That brought to the plate. Duvall entered the game in the fourth inning after was ejected for arguing after a strikeout.

"A little tough," Ziegler said of the situation following the error. "But it just changes your mentality for the inning at that point because you feel like, OK, I can't let that guy on third score anymore. I just decided I was going to go for a strikeout on Duvall."

Ziegler got Duvall looking and Dansby Swanson to fly out to end the threat.

"For Ziegler to come in in that situation and hold the game there was definitely a big swing moment in the game," Boxberger said.


Descalso delivers: With the craziness that happened late in the game, it's easy to forget about just how crucial 's two-out, two-run single was in the third inning. One of the issues for the D-backs this year has been an inability to tack on runs throughout a game. Descalso delivering two runs in the third gave the D-backs an extra cushion that they would need later on.

"Daniel Descalso has the big at-bat that gave us two runs," Lovullo said. "Those are the types of things that separate you from your opposition and help you win games."


Lovullo said with Bradley's recent struggles that he might look at pitching him in lower-leverage situations in the short term, but that he hadn't talked it over with Bradley and no final decision had been made.

"It is a possibility," Lovullo said. "I know that Archie is going to find a way to get those big outs. It just didn't happen today."


With two outs in the ninth, Camargo hit a fly ball to shallow left. If the ball falls, then Freddie Freeman would have come to the plate representing the tying run. instead made a stellar catch to end the game.


"We've lost a lot of tough games like these and it's just nice to see us come out on the other side of it. It was nice to see these guys smile. Nice to see these guys have some fun. Nice to have that good feeling after playing a game." -- Lovullo


The D-backs continue their home series with the Braves on Saturday night with (7-2, 2.05 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has been outstanding for the D-backs, who signed him to a Minor League deal on May 4 after he opted out of his contract with the Royals. The right-hander is on a roll, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA over his last four starts. The Braves will counter with right-hander (9-7, 4.05), with first pitch at 5:10 p.m. MST.