Baseball / Sports

Kimbrel blows save, Braves lose 4-3 in 11 innings at Arizona

PHOENIX -- Jason Heyward waited until the 10th inning to extend his hitting streak, then did it in spectacular fashion. But his go-ahead homer still wasn't enough Friday on a night when the Arizona Diamondbacks had their way against the Atlanta Braves bullpen.

After Craig Kimbrel blew a save in the ninth inning, Heyward's two-out homer in the 10th put the Braves back in front 3-2. But the Diamondbacks pulled out a 4-3 walkoff win on Gerardo Parra's bloop single to center with one out in the 11th against David Carpenter.

Miguel Montero homered off Braves reliever Anthony Varvaro in the 10th inning, and Carpenter gave up two hits and a walk in the 11th. Parra's hit was just the second for the Diamondbacks in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

One night after Kimbrel broke the Braves franchise record with his 155th career save, he blew a 2-1 lead after walking a .188 hitter in the ninth inning and giving up a game-tying double to pinch-hitter Aaron Hill.

The Braves had a chance to take another lead in the 11th when former Brave Randall Delgado walked Freddie Freeman to start the inning. But the next three batters -- Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Chris Johnson -- all struck out against Delgado, who came in with a 7.16 ERA and .293 opponents' batting average.

Heyward's long homer to the right-field seats was his seventh of the season and fourth during an 11-game hitting streak. It came on a night when another streaking Brave, Gattis, had three hits including an RBI double for a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

The Diamondbacks forced extra innings after Kimbrel walked No. 8 hitter Ender Inciarte with one out. Hill doubled to driving him in before Kimbrel struck out the next two batters, fanning Parra to end the inning with a runner at third after a wild pitch.

But the damage had been done. It was the third blown save in 19 opportunities this season for Kimbrel, who retired all four batters in faced Friday to break John Smoltz's franchise saves record.

Gattis had three hits including the sixth-inning double, his second of the game. After Justin Upton's two-out single, Gattis doubled to the left-center gap and Upton hustled to score from first for a 2-1 lead.

The catcher is 13-for-35 (.371) with four homers and 10 RBIs in a nine-game hitting streak.

Braves starter Ervin Santana worked out of trouble for most of seven innings, allowing six hits and only one unearned run. The leadoff batter reached base in each of the first five innings against him, three via hits, one by error and another by a walk.

The Diamondbacks had at least one base runner in every inning against Santana until the seventh, when he retired the last three batters he faced on grounders. The right-hander finished with two walks and one strikeout.

Rookie Shae Simmons worked around a leadoff single in the eighth inning to record his third hold to go with one save in five appearances since being called up from Triple-A, before Kimbrel stumbled in the ninth and the Varvaro in the 10th.

Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley had been 1-5 with a 6.43 ERA and 11 home runs allowed in seven home starts before Saturday, when the left-hander limited the Braves to six hits and two runs (one earned) in seven innings, with no walks and five strikeouts.

Half of the hits against him came from Gattis, who is 10-for-22 (.454) with three homers and three doubles against lefties. His two doubles off Miley included one that would've been a home run in most any other major league ballpark.

The Diamondbacks took an early lead with an unearned run in the second inning on a throwing error by second baseman Dan Uggla, who made his first start in nine games since Tommy La Stella arrived from Triple-A.

After consecutive singles by Martin Prado and David Peralta to start the inning, Chris Owings lined out to Uggla, who alertly threw to second base to almost double off Prado. But he didn't get that out, and Inciarte followed with a grounder near second base that bounced off shortstop Andrelton Simmons and to Uggla.

Uggla stepped on second for one out and then rushed an off-balance throw that sailed wide of first baseman Freeman, allowing Prado to score for a 1-0 lead.

The Braves answered with an unearned run of their own in the third, after Simmons led off with a double and advanced to third on right fielder Parra's throwing error on the play. One out later, Heyward hit a fielder's choice grounder and third baseman Prado's throw to the plate was high, allowing Simmons to slide in with the tying run.

Gattis extended his hitting streak with a second-inning single, then pounded a double off the center-field wall above the 407 (feet) sign with one out in the fourth. That double would've been a homer in all but two or three major league parks, but Gattis rumbled into second base and had to hope a teammate could drive him in.

Slumping Chris Johnson followed with a groundout to second base and Uggla struck out to end the inning.

(c)2014 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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