By all accounts, Tuesday’s loss was maddening for the Atlanta Braves and the team looked to avenge that defeat on Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite a favorable situation for much of the evening, the rematch ended in the same result, with Arizona taking advantage of Atlanta’s bullpen on the way to a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.
For the most part, there were few fireworks in the opening innings, with one notable exception. After a quiet inning and a half, Nick Markakis led off the second with a single and that was quickly followed by a walk from Dansby Swanson.
That set the stage for Brian McCann, who returned from injury with a bang in the form of a two-run double to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.
From there, Kevin Gausman settled in to what was a quality outing. The veteran right-hander did allow a solo home run to Adam Jones in the fourth but, aside from that, Gausman was nearly flawless for his first six innings of work while tying a career-high with 10 strikeouts.
A strong first inning for Kevin Gausman as he punctuates it with his first of the night. pic.twitter.com/JCWFfI7h35— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) April 17, 2019
An 8️⃣th for Kevin Gausman.— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) April 18, 2019
He's two off his career high. pic.twitter.com/3I1zRRVdWs
The seventh frame wasn’t as kind, however, as Atlanta’s offense failed to build on its early lead and Gausman ran into trouble. Eventually, he allowed a two-out, game-tying double to Ketel Marte and that pushed the Braves into a situation that they would have preferred to avoid at 2-2.
Atlanta did put two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh but that was an unsuccessful threat. On cue, Arizona put together their own threat in the top of the ninth against A.J. Minter but, in the end, the closer escaped without further incident, leaving the Braves with a final chance to steal a victory in the bottom of the ninth.
Ender Inciarte gave the home team hope with a one-out double down the left field line, setting the table as the potential winning run. Johan Camargo and Ozzie Albies were unable to push him across, though, and the game went to extra innings as a result.
In the top of the tenth inning, Jesse Biddle was given the ball and his appearance came on the heels of something resembling a pledge on Tuesday night.
#Braves' Biddle: "Max has been throwing the ball really well. I think a lot of us have been throwing the ball really well, and we let him down tonight. It’s just plain and simple. And it hurts. It hurts.... I promise you we’re not going to let it happen again.”— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) April 17, 2019
Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for the veteran left-hander the next night.
Biddle committed a costly throwing error with one out, placing a runner in scoring position, then he issued three walks in four batters to force a run across the plate. Dan Winkler cleaned up to prevent the deficit from growing but Atlanta went to the bottom of the tenth in a 3-2 hole.
After two outs to open the frame, Ronald Acuña did provide a bit of hope with a single to right. Ultimately, however, the Braves went quietly when Markakis flew out for the team’s 30th out.
Offensively, four members of the Braves reached base on multiple occasions. Inciarte stroked two hits, and the trio of Markakis, Swanson and McCann all produced hits and walks. Still, the run production wasn’t enough to pull out the victory and it wasn’t as if the scoreboard was lighting up throughout the evening.
On the pitching side, Gausman completed seven innings while scattering three hits and allowing two runs. He was flanked by solid performances from Winkler and Wes Parsons, but Minter struggled (albeit without scoreboard damage) and Biddle’s collapse led to the final result being a negative one.
The Braves and Diamondbacks will square off in the season finale at 12:10 pm ET on Thursday afternoon, with Mike Soroka making his first start of the season. Stay tuned.