Aaron Harang was effectively wild for most of the game, but Fredi Gonzalez left him in a tad too long this afternoon and it led to a big inning for the Diamondbacks, one that the Braves were not able to come back from.
The game was a pitcher's duel for a majority of the day but in the sixth inning Justin Upton lined a two run homer down the line to put the Braves up 2-0. Harang finished the sixth inning right near 100 pitches and the Braves had an opportunity to pinch hit Harang in the top of the seventh with a man on base but Gonzalez opted to allow Harang to hit. The Braves did not score in the top half and Harang did not record an out in the bottom half. He allowed three runs to come across, Luis Avilan got charged with a run allowed in 0.1 of an inning, and David Hale got charged with two runs as he recorded the final two outs of a brutal inning.
The Braves valiantly fought back after the inning, with Freddie Freeman homering in the eighth and Tommy La Stella hitting an RBI single to make it a two run game. In the ninth Ramiro Pena led off with a home run but Brad Ziegler was able to retire the next three hitters in order to seal the game and series victory for the Diamondbacks.
It is definitely frustrating to lose a game that way. It looks like Gonzalez does not trust his bullpen much, but Harang walked a bunch of hitters despite avoiding allowing very few hits. He was not sharp all day and the Braves could have mixed and matched their way to the ninth inning, but leaving Harang in had two big negatives. One is that he was basically a free out in the top half of the inning and two is that he pitched poorly an put the other relievers in difficult positions. To me, this game was all on Fredi, and I've been one of the guys that has essentially vouched for him. He does what most managers do, so I don't think he's as big of a negative as some believe, but today was a rough loss and it is hard to point the blame anywhere else.