Bradley struggles, D-backs fall apart late in loss to Rays
PHOENIX -- The question posed to Chip Hale before Wednesday's matinee game with Tampa Bay was whether Zack Greinke's brilliant pitching effort of Tuesday night could have a carryover effect on the rest of the pitching staff, starting with that day's starter, Archie Bradley.
"That's the idea of a No. 1," Hale said, "to set the tone. I feel like Archie kind of did it last time. He followed Zack's outing in Houston with a really good one in Chicago. We hope to continue that, and on and on from there.
"But it's hard to ask guys who don't have the experience or the success level of a Zack Greinke to continue to pitch like him. Hopefully, stuff starts rubbing off."
Hale's words proved rather prophetic, as Wednesday provided a textbook example that Bradley is not yet in the Greinke realm of pitching success.
After two consecutive stellar outings following his recall from Reno, Bradley struggled with both his stuff and location against the Rays, failing to make it out of the sixth inning after being staked to 2-1 and 3-2 leads. And though a less-than-top-of-his-game Bradley was good enough to keep the D-backs in the game, the margin for error was slim enough that the Rays were able to capitalize for a 6-3 victory. The Diamondbacks once again find themselves 10 games below .500 (26-36) with exactly 100 left to play.
"It wasn't terrible, but obviously it wasn't my best," Bradley said. "I was fighting myself early on. I knew it was going to be a battle all day, so I was just doing my best to try to minimize the damage and give us a chance to stay in the game.
"I just could never really get comfortable, find my tempo or rhythm."
Corey Dickerson hit the first of three Tampa Bay home runs in the first inning to give the Rays a quick 1-0 lead, and Desmond Jennings' sixth-inning blast, after Bradley had retired the first two batters in the inning, tied the game at 3. Tim Beckham followed with a triple to right-center and Curt Casali walked on four pitches, ending Bradley's day. Jake Barrett came on and gave up a go-ahead single to Steve Pearce.
Bradley (2-2) ended up being charged with four runs in 5 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and four walks while striking out five. Three of the four runs -- one in the third and the two in the sixth -- came after he had retired the first two batters in an inning.
"Really until that sixth inning I felt like I did a good job keeping us in the game, I just couldn't finish it up," he said. "I'm going to keep harping on that sixth. That's really going to bug me until the next one because I had a chance to get out of it and leave the sixth inning with us ahead."
The D-backs failures weren't all on Bradley, however. The bullpen was unable to stop the bleeding, and the offense, despite putting 15 batters on base, couldn't come up with the timely hits when it mattered.
Dickerson homered again in the seventh off Tyler Clippard, and the Rays added another insurance run in the ninth off closer Brad Ziegler, giving the D-backs a three-run hole to try to escape in their last at-bat.
And it looked like they just might when they loaded the bases against closer Alex Colome with no out on singles by pinch-hitter Michael Bourn and Jean Segura and a four-pitch walk by Jake Lamb.
But the rally fizzled quickly. Paul Goldschmidt got into a quick 0-2 hole and struck out on a slider in the dirt, and David Peralta followed with a ground ball to the right side that the Rays turned into a game-ending double play.
"We did a decent job getting guys on, had a chance there at the end, and I didn't come through," Goldschmidt said.
Added Hale: "You couldn't have set it up any better in the ninth. Those were the guys you want up there. It just didn't work today."