Self-inflicted mistakes cost the Diamondbacks dearly in a 6-2 loss to the Braves

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen reacts to Ketel Marte's fielding error in the second inning against the Braves.

July 9, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen reacts in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With stellar pitching between Zac Gallen and Chris Sale, runs were going to be few and far between. However, self-inflicted errors by the Diamondbacks on the defensive side of the ball proved to be their downfall in a 6-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field.

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“Today’s game felt very strange, it never had a rhythm or flow from where I was,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said in Dbacks TV’s postgame coverage. “It was exhausting, the gears were turning all day.”

After an emotional road trip in which their offense worked against two division teams, the team has come out lackluster offensively. Between the two games, they scored six runs and nine hits. With a struggling offense, those mistakes are magnified even more.

Many of the errors came in the top of the second inning, when the Braves scored two runs off Gallen. Arizona’s ace was in position to possibly escape the inning with a groundout, but sloppy defense allowed both to score. With runners on the corners and one out, a passed ball allowed the trailing runner to advance to second. Sean Murphy grounded out to shortstop, scoring the first run of the inning. The second run came when Ketel Marte missed a line drive that hit him right, deflecting the ball into the outfield. Gallen ended up needing to throw 36 pitches in the inning.

On the other hand, the Diamondbacks were mauling Sale for the first three innings. Arizona’s lineup had the All-Star lefty throw 77 pitches over the first three innings, but he couldn’t get the big hit. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position during that stretch, allowing Sale to escape each inning without allowing a run. The early missed opportunities seemed to set the tone for the offense on the night, as they only had one more chance to score the rest of the way.

Gallen eventually settled in, pitching three scoreless innings. Throwing 90 pitches, Lovullo sent his ace into the sixth inning with a bullpen depleted from having to pitch 11 innings the night before. After striking out Austin Riley, the inning completely fell apart. A double by Matt Olson, followed by a single by Marcell Ozuna, set the stage for Adam Duvall. Duvall took an 0-2 curveball in the bottom of the strike zone and hit a long home run to left field to put the Braves up 5-0.

“I was putting the pieces together and I felt like if he gave us six, we were in a great position,” Lovullo said. “I sent him in there, asked him to do a little bit more with 105 pitches, and I just made that mistake with Duvall on an 0-2 curveball.”

Those extra runs proved crucial, as the Diamondbacks finally solved the Sale problem in the bottom of the sixth. Gabriel Moreno singled with one out, then Jake McCarthy tripled into the gap in right-center to get Arizona on the board. McCarthy later scored on Eugenio Suarez’s groundout, but they never threatened in the game again with just one hit over the final three innings.

The Diamondbacks will have to forget about what happened in the last two games, as they desperately need a win to get back into the series. Right-hander Slade Cecconi (2-6, 6.10 ERA) will start for Arizona, while the Braves will counter with veteran right-hander Charlie Morton (5-5, 3.96 ERA). First pitch at Chase Field will be at 6:40 PM MST.

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Michael McDermott covers the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow it on X way @MichaelMcDMLB