video thumbnail

MIL@ARI: Miley earns win with solid start vs. Brewers

PHOENIX -- There was another meltdown by a late-inning reliever at Chase Field on Thursday night.

Thankfully for the D-backs the culprit was not wearing Sedona Red.

Instead it was Brewers reliever Jim Henderson, who allowed a pair of runs in the eighth inning as the D-backs snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory.

Blown saves have been the talk around the D-backs of late with the team leading the Majors with 19, and after Martin Prado gave Arizona the two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, all eyes were on who would pitch the ninth.

With David Hernandez, Heath Bell and J.J. Putz among the top four in the league in blown saves, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson decided to give Brad Ziegler a shot at shutting things down.

Ziegler got the job done, but not without some drama as he hit the first batter he faced with a pitch and allowed a hit later in the inning.

"It's fun," Ziegler said of the closer's role. "You get a big adrenaline rush. Obviously I didn't want to start out with a hit batter and put the tying run at the plate right away. Just tried to rely on my defense, get the ground balls."

Ziegler is now 2-for-2 in save chances, and Gibson said it was possible that Ziegler would pitch in that role going forward.

"He's told me to be ready for it," Ziegler said. "They're going to play matchups."

Of course in order to have someone save the game there had to be a late-inning lead to protect, and early on it didn't appear like the D-backs were going to have one.

D-backs starter Wade Miley knew going in that his team needed him to chew up some innings after Wednesday night's 14-inning affair with the Dodgers, but things didn't begin well.

With one out in the first, Jean Segura doubled to left and after Miley retired Carlos Gomez for the second out, Jonathan Lucroy blasted a homer to center to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

In the third, Gomez hit a hanging slider into the left-field seats to give Milwaukee a 3-0 advantage.

"Just wasn't loose, wasn't able to really establish in, so I was having to live away," Miley said. "[Catcher Miguel Montero] kind of saw that early and we started going changeup, started going a lot more offspeed pitches, just trying to get guys out."

Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo showed why there were a bevy of scouts behind home plate checking out one of the top starters who is reportedly available on the trade market.

The right-hander kept the D-backs hitless through the first 3 1/3 innings and off the scoreboard through four.

The D-backs were finally able to put together a rally against him in the fifth.

Prado led off the frame with a double to center and he advanced to third when Montero followed with a single to right.

Two outs later, Adam Eaton tripled -- his first hit since coming off the disabled list -- to score both runners and cut the Brewers' lead to 3-2.

The D-backs tied the score in the sixth without the benefit of a hit.

While the offense was rallying, Miley (6-7) was hitting his stride, retiring 14 straight batters before Norichika Aoki legged out an infield single to start the eighth.

Maybe at a different stage of the season, with a bullpen well rested and effective, Gibson might have taken Miley out. But on this night, the skipper showed faith in his left-hander, who repaid it by getting out of the inning.

Henderson came on to pitch the eighth and right away it was clear he didn't have much command, as he walked Eaton on four pitches to start the inning.

Henderson (3-3) walked another two batters sandwiched around a pair of outs to load the bases for Prado.

"In that situation I was ready to attack," Prado said. "I was looking for a good pitch, not trying to do too much. I was trying to make sure that I stayed through the ball and thinking to the middle or the other way, and he gave me a good pitch to hit and I hit it right through the middle."

Prado's single to center scored Eaton and Paul Goldschmidt to give the D-backs the lead.

"We needed to go down to him and the ball was left up," Henderson said. "He was aggressive and took advantage of the opportunity. He was looking for it in one spot and he got it."

MLB.com Comments