MILWAUKEE Thirteen pitches, and the Diamondbacks were done.
That's all it took for the Milwaukee Brewers to string together six good at-bats and score five times in the sixth inning, breaking a 4-4 tie created just an inning earlier by Justin Uptons long home run.
When they were done, the Brewers had a 9-4 victory on Sunday at Miller Park and the D-backs found themselves on the way to Chase Field in a 2-0 hole in the National League Division Series.Walk, error, walk, single, single, single.
Arizona catcher Miguel Montero felt as if he were in a crossfire.
It was crazy. It was really crazy," Montero said. "I didnt even get a chance to second-guess myself. It was like OK, here we go, boom-boom, boom-boom-boom. Whats going on over here? I felt like I was in the middle and everybody was shooting.We had the momentum. If we would have held them for one more inning, I think we would have won the game, who knows. The game was there, and 20 minutes later the manager is taking out the pitcher
In a game in which the D-backs hit three home runs and came back from a 4-1 deficit to knock Brewers starter Zack Greinke out of the game after five innings, it was the little things that haunted them in the sixth.
It started innocently enough. Brad Ziegler, a quiet rally-killer since his acquisition from Oakland at the trading deadline, replaced Daniel Hudson with one out and a Jerry Hairston Jr. on second base. It was a situation in which Ziegler normally thrives. He had allowed only four of 21 inherited runners to score while fashioning a 1.74 ERA since coming over.
But as in Game 1, a 4-1 loss to Milwaukee in which the D-backs major decisions backfired, this outing was another exception to the norm.
Ziegler was called for a balk before his second pitch to his first batter, Yuniesky Betancourt, as he made a move to throw to second. Ziegler did not believe he balked, and the call seemed to affect him. He threw three more balls to Betancourt, setting up a double play for a groundball pitcher.
Things unraveled shortly. The D-backs expected Jonathan Lucroy to bunt Brewers manager Ron Roenicke likes to bunt and he did, pushing a safety squeeze toward the mound. Ziegler fielded the ball cleanly, but instead of conceding a run and taking the routine out at first, he rushed a throw to the plate and overthrew Montero. One run scored, and runners ended on second and third. He was upset at himself afterward.
I should have just taken the out at first, but knowing that was the lead run over there, I wanted to try to cut it down," Ziegler said. "It would have been tough to get the out at home, and we probably didnt have a shot at him even if I made a good throw. It wasnt the smart play. The smart play would have been to throw the ball to first.
The D-backs intentionally walked pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to load the bases before Corey Hart singled to center on the first pitch he saw to drive in one run, Nyjer Morgan singled to center on the first pitch he saw to drive in two runs, and Ryan Braun singled to center on a 1-0 pitch to drive in the final run of the inning to make it 9-4.
I think weve done a pretty good job this year of taking advantage of the other teams mistakes," said Braun, who also hit a two-run homer in the first and is 6 for 8 ith a homer, a double and three RBI in the series. "You have to be aggressive. You force the action, and it puts a lot of pressure on the opponent.Montero was surprised at the way the Brewers went right after Ziegler.
They were jumping right away. To be honest, I wasnt thinking they were going to be that aggressive. They were on it, Montero said.
The only thing I saw wrong was those guys swinging at the first pitch. Thats their job. They made good adjustments. They stayed inside the ball pretty good. They never tried to pull anything. They tried to hit the ball back up the middle, and thats what they did. Ziegler is a ground-ball pitcher. I dont think he gave up a ground ball. Its unfortunate. Hes had a good year. There is always a first time, and today was his first.
The D-backs had three home runs of Greinke, who was 11-0 at home this season but was pitching on three days rest. Paul Goldschmidt homered in the second and Chris Young hit one in the fourth before Uptons shot tied the game. It was his second off Greinke this season, both on 92 mph fastballs.
Hudson blew through the fifth inning and Young doubled with one out in the sixth, one of his three hits, but did not score. The D-backs were 0 for 10 with runners in position.
Then came the sixth.
It was tough. I understand. I can relate to it. Its how it goes sometimes, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. Follow Jack Magruder on Twitter