Big Inning Propels Diamondbacks to Comeback Win over Braves

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Diamondbacks 6, Braves 4

PHOENIX, Sept. 23 — A five-run bottom of the seventh — highlighted by a three-run home run from catcher Carson Kelly — led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6–4 comeback victory over the Atlanta Braves. The victory kept the Braves from sweeping the four-game series over the Diamondbacks.

Braves Take Early Lead over Diamondbacks

Both starters — Madison Bumgarner for the Diamondbacks and Charlie Morton for the Braves — pitched scoreless first and second innings. In the top of the third, a two-out walk drawn by first baseman Freddie Freeman set the table for second baseman Ozzie Albies. On 2–1, Albies lifted a deep fly to the left-field corner. David Peralta attempted a leaping catch at the wall, where a fan reached over and knocked the ball away from Peralta. The umpires, after replay review, ruled fan interference and put Albies on second. Freeman scored on the play to give the Braves a 1–0 lead. Two pitches later, Austin Riley continued his homer streak with a 104.5-mph, 405-foot drive into the left-field seats. The half-inning ended two batters later with the Braves holding a 3–0 lead.

In the bottom of the fifth, a one-out double by center fielder Jake McCarthy, followed by a pinch-single by Daulton Varsho, got the Diamondbacks on the board. The Braves, however, got that run back in the top of the sixth. After a one-out infield single by Duvall, catcher Travis d’Arnaud doubled. This put two runners in scoring position for shortstop Dansby Swanson, whose sacrifice fly to center plated Duvall for a 4–1 Braves lead.

The Rally

It all changed in the bottom of the seventh. Consecutive singles by second baseman Josh VanMeter and third baseman Ildemaro Vargas chased Morton from the game. In came Jacob Webb to face Kelly. The second pitch landed in the left-field seats for a game-tying home run. Next, pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun doubled. Varsho followed with one of his own, giving the Diamondbacks a 5–4 lead. Shortstop Josh Rojas advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitter Henry Ramos extended the lead to 6–4 with a sacrifice fly. Peralta kept the hit parade going with a double. An intentional walk of first baseman Christian Walker brought up VanMeter again. He struck out, ending the five-run, six-hit inning.

Setup man Noe Ramirez struck out the side for a perfect top of the eighth. The Diamondbacks threatened again in the bottom of the eighth after a one-out double by Kelly. However, Calhoun and Varsho followed with a called strikeout and grounder to second, respectively, to render the hit moot. J.B. Wendelken pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to earn his second save of the season.

An “Unbelievable Win”

Bumgarner said after the game that he “felt good.” He added, “Getting the win was good for us, no matter what the circumstances.” By “circumstances” he meant the announcement earlier in the day that manager Torey Lovullo received a contract extension. Bumgarner said about Lovullo, “He’s a great communicator. (Lovullo is a) great person: easy to be around, easy to play for, easy to root for and want to do good for. He’s got all that stuff. (Lovullo is), obviously, a good baseball guy, and he knows the game. He’s fun to play for. I’m glad he’s gonna be back.”

Rojas did not find out about Lovullo’s extension until after the game. Shortly after learning the news, he said, “That was very exciting to hear. I’m happy for him and happy for this team. He’s a great guy to lead this team and, especially, to get where we’re trying to go. (Torey has) been through it with us. There’s no better guy to bring back next year for the turnaround.”

A humbled Lovullo said, “The win was an unbelievable win. These guys went out in a game where we were getting pushed around by their starting pitcher. We weathered the storm, and they rallied around one another to come up with five big runs. It’s an unbelievable effort by these guys.”

Looking Ahead for the Diamondbacks and Braves

The Braves (80–71) and Diamondbacks (49–104) have concluded their season series. From here, the Braves head to San Diego. They will complete a suspended game with the Padres before starting a three-game weekend series. The Diamondbacks remain at home, where they will host the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game weekend series. Humberto Castellanos (2–1, 4.11 ERA) will take the hill for the Diamondbacks against Tony Gonsolin (3–1, 2.93 ERA) in Friday night’s opener.

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Players/managers mentioned:

Carson Kelly, Madison Bumgarner, Charlie Morton, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, David Peralta, Austin Riley, Jake McCarthy, Daulton Varsho, Travis d’Arnaud, Dansby Swanson, Josh VanMeter, Ildemaro Vargas, Jacob Webb, Kole Calhoun, Josh Rojas, Henry Ramos, Christian Walker, Noe Ramirez, J.B. Wendelken, Torey Lovullo, Humberto Castellanos, Tony Gonsolin