D-backs drop another heartbreaker in LA

Kemp homers off Bradley in 8th to create tie atop NL West

September 2nd, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- D-backs setup man had a message for D-backs fans after Saturday night's 3-2 late-inning loss to the Dodgers.

It's going to be OK.

"This is a tough loss, don't get me wrong," Bradley said. "But to our fans, to people outside this clubhouse, this isn't a 'we just lost in the playoffs.' This is a tough loss in a tough environment."

The D-backs held a 2-0 lead before Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer off Bradley in the eighth.

The loss comes one night after the D-backs carried a 2-1 lead into the seventh only to lose by the same 3-2 margin after a pair of Dodgers homers.

It was a costly game in the standings as well, as the D-backs dropped into a tie for first place with the Dodgers in the National League West. The Rockies, who beat the Padres on Saturday night, are a half-game back.

"No," Bradley said when asked whether these were hard nights. "You show up tomorrow and you win. You want to put the loss on me? Put it on me. I gave up three hits, three runs. Put it on me. But if you think one game in September is going to define me or this team, then go ahead. Count us out. It's one game in September. We have [26] more."

The D-backs built their 2-0 lead against Dodgers ace on the strength of leadoff homers by in the second and pinch-hitter in the sixth.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo turned to Bradley to start the eighth, and he struck out pinch-hitter to open the frame. then reached on an opposite-field single, bringing Manny Machado to the plate.

"Turner slaps the ball the other way and now the tying run is coming to the plate and he pitched Machado carefully," Lovullo said.

Indeed, Machado fought for 10 pitches before drawing a walk.

That brought up Kemp, who came into the game hitting just .174 against curves and sliders, as opposed to .354 on fastballs.

So it was no surprise that Kemp saw a steady diet of breaking balls. Nine of the first 10 pitches over his first two plate appearances were breaking balls, and against in his third at-bat, he saw only one fastball and the rest were splitters.

But when Bradley missed his spot with a 1-2 curve in the eighth -- he wanted it down and off the plate, but it was on the inside edge of the plate and not down far enough -- Kemp crushed it into the tarped-over seats just to the left of the batter's eye in center.

"It was a bad one," Bradley said. "One-two, a hitter like that, it's got to be a better pitch than that. I told you I've been active in trying to throw my curveball more, and I did. I just threw a bad one. You can see it from the beginning, it just kind of rolled out on me. Not a good pitch to him."

But one that Bradley swears won't alter the course of the season.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Made him work: Kemp's homer was obviously the play of the game, but Machado's 10-pitch walk helped set it up. Machado fell behind 0-2 on a pair of called strikes before fouling off four fastballs and taking one fastball and three curves out of the zone to draw the walk.

"I think that was probably the key at-bat of the night for me," Lovullo said.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

With starter at 96 pitches through five innings, Lovullo sent Walker up to pinch-hit for him to lead off the sixth. Walker hit the first pitch he saw from Kershaw into the seats in left. He has two home runs this season, both were pinch-hit shots against Kershaw.

Surprising D-back has Kershaw's number

HE SAID IT

"To the outside world, this seems like a crushing loss, and maybe to some of these guys in here it is. But for me, and I think the guys who have been around, it's another loss. You want to beat this team, you want to separate as much as you can, but when you shower up like I just did, you've got to forget it. You've got to show up tomorrow and be ready to go." -- Bradley

UP NEXT

The D-backs close out this four-game series against the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon with (7-2, 2.07 ERA) taking on standout rookie (6-4, 3.02). Buchholz is riding a 15-inning scoreless streak and is 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA over his last three starts.