Missed opportunities and base-running errors ruled the night for Atlanta as the Braves fell to Arizona 5-4 in 11 innings in what has to be classified as an ugly game.
Julio Teheran got ball the ball for Atlanta in his second start of the year, and while he struggled some with command, Teheran kept the Braves in the game and limited the damage to two runs in his four innings of work. The final line on Teheran was four innings, six hits, two runs (both earned), while walking two and striking out one.
The scoring started in the first inning, as Teheran hung a two-out change-up to Justin Upton who crushed it 434 feet into the left field stands to give Arizona a quick 1-0 lead.
Arizona added to their lead in the fourth inning, as Juan Miranda singled with one out and then advanced to second on a single by the pitcher Saunders. Ryan Roberts followed with a single to right that scored Miranda and pushed the lead to 2-0 Arizona.
The rest after the jump
The Braves finally got something going against Saunders in the fifth inning, as Alex Gonzalez singled to left field to start the frame. Saunders then walked Nate McLouth, putting runners on first and second. Fredi Gonzalez let Teheran come up to the plate and try to bunt the runners over. Teheran hasn't gotten many at-bats in AAA this season, and it showed as Teheran got the bunt down but Arizona perfectly executed the wheel play and threw Alex Gonzalez out at third base.
Martin Prado followed with a grounder that was turned into a double play and that ended the Braves threat in the fifth.
Atlanta finally broke through on the scoreboard in the sixth inning, but terrible base-running killed any chances of the Braves having a big inning. Jason Heyward led off the inning with a single, and was followed by Chipper Jones who doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third.
Brian McCann then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Heyward from third cutting the deficit to 2-1. On the play however, Chipper Jones hesitated when deciding to tag up, and tagged up very late. Chipper decided to try and advance to third base anyway and he was gunned out by left fielder Gerardo Parra.
After a walk to Dan Uggla, Freddie Freeman singled into left field as the ball deflected off Stephen Drew's glove. Uggla was overly aggressive on the bases and tried to advance to third, and Parra took the oppurtunity to gun down Uggla as well. There was no need for Uggla to try to advance to third as any sort of base hit would have most likely scored him from second. Atlanta had a chance to put up a big number here, but ran themselves out of the inning.
Reliever Esmerling Vasquez came in for Saunders in the seventh, and the Braves responded by taking the lead. Alex Gonzalez led off with a walk but another bad bunt, this time from Nate McLouth, got Gonzalez out at second with the force out. Pinch hitter Brooks Conrad came through and doubled down the right field line, scoring McLouth all the way from first. Conrad advanced to third on the throw, narrowly beating the tag.
Martin Prado then flew out to center, scoring Conrad and giving Atlanta a 3-2 lead.
Scott Proctor came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh, and started the inning with a walk to Ryan Roberts. Kelly Johnson bunted him over to second, bringing Justin Upton to the plate. Proctor threw a slider in the dirt that bounced off Brian McCann, and Proctor slipped trying to run over and grab the ball, allowing Roberts to come around all the way from second and score on a wild pitch. The bizarre play allowed Arizona to tie the game at 3.
Eric O' Flaherty and Jonny Venters each pitched a scoreless inning in the eighth and ninth to keep the Diamondbacks at bay and sent the game to extra innings as Atlanta was unable to score as well.
After an uneventful tenth inning and another scoreless frame for Venters, the Braves finally broke through and looked like they would win the game in the 11th.
Facing Aaron Heilman, the Braves led off the inning with a walk from Chipper Jones. Joe Mather was brought in to pinch run, and quickly made yet another Braves base-running error. Dan Uggla hit a single as the ball deflected off the glove of Heilman over towards second baseman Kelly Johnson. Seeing this, Mather decided to try and advance to third. Johnson made a diving stop of the ball, and caught Mather in a run down. Mather was tagged out at third base, letting Uggla advance up to second.
Pinch hitter Diory Hernandez came through with a single up the middle, scoring Uggla and giving Atlanta a 4-3 lead. The Braves were unable to add anymore runs as Stephen Drew made a diving stop on a McLouth scorching liner to end the inning. Atlanta headed to the bottom of the 11th with Mather's base-running error looming large.
Closer Craig Kimbrel came in to try and slam the door in the bottom of the eleventh but was unable to. With one out, Russell Branyan singled to right to bring up Roberts. Roberts hit a ball hard toward Kimbrel, and the ball deflected off his glove. Dan Uggla was able to recover it but his throw to first was too late as the Diamondbacks had runners on first and third. Johnson followed with yet another single, this one to right field and tied the game at 4.
Roberts advanced to third on the play, and scored on the next one as Justin Upton hit a soft bouncing ball to Uggla. Uggla attempted to come home with it but bobbled the ball in his glove and was unable to make a throw. Roberts scored from third and the Diamondbacks walked-off with a 5-4 win. Even if Uggla had fielded the ball cleanly, I don't think he would have been able to get Roberts at the plate.
The blown save was Kimbrel's fourth on the season.
WP: Aaron Heilman, (2-0), 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.
LP: Craig Kimbrel, (1-2), 0.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Atlanta tries to salvage a split of the series tonight at 9:40 PM EDT.