PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks-Atlanta Braves series is anything but dull.
Long, sure, but not dull.
The teams combined for 47 runs and 77 hits in the first three games of the four-game set that concludes Thursday night, when Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray will face off against Atlanta right-hander Matt Wisler, who is being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to rejoin the rotation.
The Braves have one more run in the series and one more loss, both times when Arizona walked them off, in the ninth inning Monday and in the 11th Wednesday.
The teams have used 38 pitchers who have thrown 1,071 pitches.
They have played 29 innings and 11 hours, 27 minutes.
“Eventually we got it done,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said after the Diamondbacks survived a four-run Braves ninth inning Wednesday to win on Brandon Drury's short sacrifice fly in the 11th.
Even that play was a little different. With the bases loaded and one out, Drury hit a line drive to short left field that Matt Kemp, playing in, caught with a dive. However, Kemp could not get up in time to get much on his throw to the plate, and Jake Lamb scored the winning run.
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke recorded his 2,000th career strikeout in the fourth inning, but he also gave up four runs in six innings. Atlanta not only rallied to tie the game with four runs in the ninth but later had runners on first and third with one out in the ninth and runners on second and third with two outs in the 10th but could not push across the go-ahead run.
“We had a legit chance to win against one of the better pitchers in baseball, and it's a tough one to lose,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Arizona has five homers and Atlanta has four in the series, with first basemen Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman leading the way with two apiece.
It also has been a good series to rub it in to a former team.
Diamondbacks center fielder Michael Bourn is getting a little payback against Atlanta, which released him late in spring training in order to give time to younger players in a rebuilding season. Bourn had two triples in a four-hit game Wednesday and is 7-for-15 with five runs in the series.
Bourn spent time in the Toronto minor league system before returning to the majors with Arizona in May.
Atlanta center fielder Ender Inciarte also has starred against his former team. Inciarte, traded to the Braves at the winter meetings with right-hander Aaron Blair and shortstop Dansby Swanson for right-hander Shelby Miller, had four hits Wednesday and also is 7-for-15 with three runs in the series.
Arizona could believe it has the advantage in the pitching matchup Thursday.
Ray is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Week after giving up two runs in 12 innings in victories over the New York Mets on Aug. 15 and San Diego on Saturday. Ray struck out a career-high 13 in seven innings against the Padres, fanning the side in the second and the fourth with a fastball that tops out in the 97-98 mph range.
He is 2-0 with an 0.95 ERA in his past three starts.
“Command,” manager Chip Hale when asked to explain Ray's recent success. “Just being able to command that fastball. It's such a devastating pitch. He's throwing his breaking ball better, better locations with it. The main thing is fastball command and not having to throw so many pitches. Getting deeper in games.”
Wisler spent the first four months of the season in the rotation and was 4-11 with a 5.16 ERA in 21 appearances, 20 starts, before being optioned to Gwinnett the first week of August. He was 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in four starts at Gwinnett, and he gave up no more than three earned runs in any of them. He went seven innings to beat Charlotte in his most recent start, last Friday.
Wisler will be facing the Diamondbacks for the first time. Ray has opposed the Braves just once, when he allowed three runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings at Atlanta on Aug. 14, 2015.