Precious outs, save elude Ziegler

Precious outs, save elude Ziegler

PHOENIX -- With Brad Ziegler's side-armed, ground ball-inducing pitching style, there are times opposing teams can roll balls through the infield against the D-backs' closer.

Normally, Ziegler can pitch around it, induce double plays, and avoid further trouble. Not in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Phillies, though.

Ziegler blew just his second save opportunity of the season, allowing a pair of runs in the ninth as the Phillies had no trouble orchestrating a game-winning rally against the veteran right-hander.

"You play with fire, you're going to get burned once in a while," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "They had some really good at-bats early in the inning to build that inning up. That's just baseball."

The D-backs overcame an oblique injury to starter Zack Greinke that forced the ace out of the game after just two innings. Yasmany Tomas and Jake Lamb hit homers, the Arizona bullpen held Philadelphia to one run for six innings, and the D-backs looked in position to snap a three-game losing streak.

Instead, the Phillies came from behind. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Paredes led off the ninth with a double, then scored the tying run on a single by Andres Blanco.

Odubel Herrera poked a single into right field, then Ziegler walked Peter Bourjos to load the bases with no outs. The D-backs closer struck out Maikel Franco, but then issued a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Howard -- his old college teammate from Missouri State University -- for the go-ahead run.

"I felt like for the most part I made some pretty good pitches. But tip your hat, they got enough of the barrel on it to do just enough damage," Ziegler said. "It [stinks] that it happened several times in one game, sometimes it will scatter a little more than that. When you pitch to contact a lot, occasionally that's going to happen. I think some of the pitches they hit weren't even strikes."

Ziegler had converted a club-record 43 saves in a row, dating back to 2015, before he blew his first save of the year against the Rockies on June 23. But in that outing, Ziegler only allowed an inherited runner to score and later notched the win after the D-backs' offense battled back.

It's been rare for Ziegler to start an inning with a save situation and not be able to close out the victory.

"It just didn't work out," Ziegler said.

The D-backs ensured another series loss at Chase Field, where they are just 13-27 -- the second-worst home mark in the Majors.

"It's definitely frustrating, we don't like to lose games at all, period," Ziegler said. "We get the idea that we should be better at home than we are and it's tough to explain. Tonight, the guys put us in a good position to win, especially with Zack going down early."

Jake Rill is a reporter for based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.