Rosario Saves Day for Braves in Comeback over Diamondbacks

Eddie Rosario celebrates with Braves third-base coach Ron Washington after hitting a ninth-inning grand slam against the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Braves 8, Diamondbacks 5

PHOENIX, June 4 — Eddie Rosario, with his team one out from losing both the game and the series, ripped a back-breaking grand slam to give the Atlanta Braves a dramatic 8–5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon in front of 32,401 fans at Chase Field. Ozzie Albies also came through for the Braves, going 4-for-5 with a homer, two RBI, a stolen base, and two runs scored.

Braves, Diamondbacks Engage in Seesaw Battle

The Braves had consecutive one-out singles in the top of the first from first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Austin Riley. This put runners on the corners for catcher Travis d’Arnaud. He and left fielder Eddie Rosario, up next, both struck out to strand the runners. But in the following inning, the Braves cashed in. Second baseman Ozzie Albies singled to right. As designated hitter Marcell Ozuna batted, Albies stole second. An errant throw from Diamondbacks catcher Jose Herrera sailed into center field and allowed Albies to reach third. Ozuna ultimately walked, putting runners on the corners for shortstop Orlando Arcia, who bounced into a double play. Albies scored an unearned run on the play, giving the Braves a 1–0 lead.

The Diamondbacks responded in the bottom half. Third baseman Josh Rojas drew a one-out walk. Center fielder Jake McCarthy erased Rojas by grounding into a 3–6 force play, but the hustling McCarthy beat out the relay, avoided the double play, and extended the inning. McCarthy advanced on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a double to left by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo.

Seesaw Continues

The Diamondbacks took the lead in the bottom of the third with four straight two-out hits. Corbin Carroll got it started with a line-drive homer to the left-center-field bleachers. Designated Christian Walker followed with a single to center and advanced to second on a single to left by Emmanuel Rivera. Rojas plated Walker with a single to right, also advancing Rivera to second. With the Diamondbacks now leading, 3–1, McCarthy could not keep the carousel going, grounding to third for the inning-ending out.

Another immediate response came in the top of the fourth. d’Arnaud led off with a single to center. Two batters later, Albies belted a no-doubt homer to the right-field bleachers, tying the game at three. Ozuna, up next, ripped another deep drive, this one to right-center. It hit off the facing of the picnic overhang, but since Ozuna stood to admire his drive before running out of the box, all he could muster was a long single. A wild pitch advanced him to second before Arcia grounded to second. Ozuna advanced to third on the groundout, but a grounder to short for the third out by Harris left Ozuna 90 feet from scoring the go-ahead run.

Diamondbacks Take Lead, Braves Narrow Deficit

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Another two-out rally came in the bottom of the fourth, beginning with a walk by right fielder Pavin Smith. On the very next pitch, second baseman Ketel Marte launched a towering fly into the right-field seats, giving the Diamondbacks a 5–3 lead. A double by Carroll and walk by Walker followed, bringing out Braves manager Brian Snitker with the hook. In came Collin McHugh, who struck out Rivera to stop the bleeding.

Gallen and McHugh traded zeroes in the fifth. In the sixth, Gallen tossed another scoreless frame to end his day with a quality start despite allowing 10 baserunners. The bottom of the sixth saw highly touted Braves pitching prospect AJ Smith-Shawver make his major league debut. He tossed a perfect sixth and perfect seventh, striking out three.

The Braves, in the top of the seventh, narrowed the deficit to 5–4 with a run off Diamondbacks reliever Andrew Chafin. A one-out single to center by right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. started the rally. He stole second and scored on a single to center by Olson, up next.

Diamondbacks right-hander Scott McGough pitched a 1–2–3 top of the eighth. Smith-Shawver and lefty AJ Minter combined for a scoreless bottom of the eighth despite a walk and two stolen bases by McCarthy.

The Ninth

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Miguel Castro came in to close in the top of the ninth, tasked with the 9–1–2 part of the order. Harris drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a single by Acuña. As Olson batted, Acuña swiped second. Olson ultimately struck out looking, bringing up Riley, whom the Diamondbacks walked intentionally to set up a potential double play. d’Arnaud lined to the shortstop for the second out. Up stepped Rosario as the last hope for the Braves. On 1–0, Castro hung a sinker, and Rosario smashed a deep drive to right. Smith tracked it to the fence and leapt, but to no avail.

Gone.

The grand slam gave the Braves an 8–5 lead, chasing Castro from the game as hundreds of fans headed for the exits. In came Austin Adams with the air already squeezed out of the building. Albies welcomed him with a single to left. A soft liner to second by Murphy poured water on the embers.

Raisel Iglesias pitched the bottom of the ninth for the Braves. Marte drew a leadoff walk, but a hot smash by Carroll went straight to Olson, who quickly turned the grounder into a 3–6–1 double play. Christian Walker grounded to third, nailing down the win for the Braves.

Proud of His Team

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo refused to let the disappointing outcome get him down. “I want to say how proud I am of this team (and) how proud I am of what we did over these three days,” Lovullo sid as an opener to his postgame session. “We know what (the Braves) have done over the past several years. They’re a good baseball team. We fought as hard as we could for those three days. Had some unbelievable moments. We were one out away from winning the series. So I’m not gonna let that distract me. The outcome is painful. It hurts, because we care so much. But I’m not going to let it distract me from the good things that I saw and the things, of course, that we need to improve upon.”

Looking Ahead

Minter (3–5) got the win in relief, while Castro (3–2) took the double-whammy blown save-loss. Iglesias notched his seventh save of the season.

The Diamondbacks (35–25) now hit the road for a six-game trip, while the Braves (35–24) head back to Georgia for a six-game intradivision homestand. Both teams have Monday off. On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks open a three-game set with the Washington Nationals (25–34). Lefty Tommy Henry (3–1, 3.73 ERA) will take the hill for the Diamondbacks against Nationals right-hander Jake Irvin (1–3, 5.67 ERA). First pitch will be at 4:05 pm Arizona Time.

The Braves, on that same day, will begin a three-game series with the New York Mets (30–30). Mets right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2–2, 5.74 ERA) will toe the rubber against Braves righty Bryce Elder (3–0, 1.92 ERA). First pitch will be at 7:20 pm Eastern Time.

After facing the Nationals, the Diamondbacks will head to Detroit for a three-game interleague series with the Tigers. The Braves, that same day, will host the Nationals in a three-game series.

More coverage (Braves focus) from Jim Marshall.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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