Braves break through vs. D-backs bullpen to even series

BY foxsports • August 24, 2016

PHOENIX -- It was a familiar and unsuccessful formula for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

A still-maturing starting pitcher labored through the early innings, unable to work deep into the game, followed on the mound by a parade of unproven, overworked relievers who eventually found themselves on the ropes, falling to a late-inning knockout punch.

Atlanta's Matt Kemp delivered the decisive blow Tuesday night, a two-out, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning off Jake Barrett that cleared the bases, wiped out a 4-3 Diamondbacks' lead and propelled the Braves to a 7-4 win in the second game of a four-game series.

Archie Bradley pitched the first five innings and left with a 4-3 lead, thanks to some Houdini-like escapes through the first three innings, when Atlanta put 10 runners on base but stranded eight of them. With his pitch count at 103, his night was through. Randall Delgado and Edwin Escobar each pitched a scoreless inning before the Braves broke through on Barrett, who has endured a trying August after pitching his way into a prominent bullpen role through the season's first four months.

He gave up a leadoff single to Dansby Swanson and a one-out single to Ender Inciarte to put runners on the corners, and after striking out Adonis Garcia for the second out, up came Freddie Freeman, who entered the game with 7 home runs and a .486 batting average over the course of an 11-game hitting streak.

Barrett pitched him carefully, leading to a base-filling walk, and Kemp followed with a shot into the right-field corner to clear the bases.

"I feel healthy, just dragging a little bit, pitching a lot," Barrett said. "You got to fight through it."

Bradley now has one win to show for his last 12 starts. He's up to 105 innings on the major-league level and 145 2/3 all told for the season, and D-backs manager Chip Hale said that while the team is monitoring his workload closely, he doesn't think Bradley has hit the proverbial wall.

The situation is similar for Barrett, who has pitched in 55 games for the D-backs and three in the minor leagues for a total of 49 1/3 innings. Barrett has made 11 appearances in the month of August and surrendered 11 hits, 12 walks and 12 runs over 8 innings of work. In four of the 11 appearances he's given up multiple runs.

Bradley's career high for innings in a season is 152 in 2013; Barrett's is 55 1/3 in 2014.

"Archie's innings are high, and we're going to address that in the month that's left in the season," Hale said. "His arm felt good, he was throwing 94 tonight, which is better than we've seen in a while.

"Barrett, the whole bullpen has been used pretty hard, so he's been run out there a bunch. We're very careful about how they feel each day and how they throw in the pre-game. If there's any bit of an issue, we wouldn't throw him.

"It was all location for Jake tonight, just very, very poor location. Is it a wall? I hope not, because it's a major league season, it's 162 games. We'll make sure we don't hurt anybody that's our job, but we want to give them an opportunity in key situations That's what you want."

The D-backs totaled only five hits and scored all four of their runs in the third inning. They loaded the bases with three two-out walks, and Yasmany Tomas singled in two. After Welington Castillo was hit by a pitch to reload the bases, Jake Lamb doubled into the right-field corner to snap a 2-for-47 slump.

That chased Braves starter Rob Whalen, but five Atlanta relievers gave up only four base-runners over the next 6 1/3 innings.

Tomas was pulled from the game at the start of the eighth inning with what Hale described as "mid-back tightness."

"It doesn't seem to be too concerning," Hale said. "Hopefully he'll feel better tomorrow."

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