D-backs follow script with another comeback
JUL 14, 2013 12:23a ET
As has happened, they fell behind early. They rallied. And, new to this series, they navigated the final innings with a situational bullpen that has adapted well.
The result: a 5-4 victory at Chase Field that supplied further evidence that this team does not ruffle.
"We fight," Eric Chavez said.
The D-backs overcame one-, three- and three-run deficits to win the first three games of the series, enabling them to stay 2 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West and shrug off an L.A. sweep earlier in the week with their eighth victory in the last 11 games.
The Diamondbacks are not built to hit home runs, a point manager Kirk Gibson emphasized before the game Saturday, but they used three of them to help turn Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse's perfect game into a perfectly miserable outing.
Miguel Montero broke up Lohse's perfect game with a homer in the fifth, Didi Gregorius hit a solo homer in the sixth and and Jason Kubel got the seventh inning started with another solo homer, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Then came the series of good at-bats in high-leverage situations that has defined the offense this year. Cody Ross singled and Montero battled back from a 1-2 count to work a walk, knocking Lohse out.
Reliever John Axford could not find the plate, and the D-backs were content to let him keep looking. Martin Prado took a four-pitch walk to load the bases, and Gregorius got to 3-0 before Axford threw a strike. He hit the next pitch into right field for a single, and Chavez patiently worked a walk on a 3-2 count to force in the go-ahead run.
"The pressure is kind of on them when you get the bases loaded like that," Gibson said. "We did a good job of keeping the pressure on the pitcher.
"All in all, the guys were resilient and we got the job done."
The gritty wins continue to mount. The D-backs are 21-12 in one-run games, the most victories in the majors, and have 27 comeback wins.
"We've been piecing it together," Chavez said. "Guys have been doing well. We've been having clutch at-bats late in ball games, kinda like we've done the whole year."
It is a style built for stretch-run games, and it is something the D-backs seem to have mastered.
"These close games are definitely going to benefit later," Chavez said. "When you get down towards the end (of the season), the games get a little tighter and there is more pressure and every pitch counts. It's building confidence towards the end of the year."
Brad Ziegler, closing now while general manager Kevin Towers and Gibson mull the bullpen alignment coming out of the All-Star break, got his second save in three nights as four relievers got the final nine outs.
Will Harris, Heath Bell and Tony Sipp got through the seventh and eighth without giving a hit, the only hiccup coming when Bell struck out a batter who reached on a wild pitch. Harris got two strikeouts, on a fastball and a curve, and Bell also used his breaking ball effectively. Sipp struck out the only batter he faced.
"That's a good challenge, and I enjoy the challenge," Gibson said of mixing and matching his relievers with J.J. Putz and David Hernandez available only in an emergency after working three of the last four days.
"It worked well."
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