D-backs fail to get big hit, bullpen struggles again in loss to Braves

PHOENIX — On Star Wars Night, you do or do not. There is no try. And the D-backs did not despite coming close, as they dropped their second straight game of their four-game series with the Atlanta Braves, 6-4.

Wilmer Flores went 3-4 with a run scored and David Peralta added two hits and a run, but the offense failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities with men on base.

Arizona finished just 2-10 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought early on we got outside of our approach and typically something that we’re very good at and have been good at, situational hitting, we came out of our game plan and just weren’t patient enough,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after the game.

The Braves scored first when second baseman Ozzie Albies brought home Ender Inciarte with a single off D-backs starting pitcher Merrill Kelly in the second inning.

Kelly found himself in trouble again in the third after an RBI single by Josh Donaldson increased the lead to two runs.

The D-backs then managed to load the bases twice but were unable to convert the opportunities into big innings. After failing to score a run with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth, Nick Ahmed brough home the team’s first run of the game with a sac fly that plated Peralta.

The Braves, however, seemed to have an offensive rebuttal for every D-backs run. Brian McCann immediately added a solo home run off Kelly in the seventh inning to put Atlanta back up by two.

Despite not having his best stuff, Kelly battled and gave the D-backs an opportunity to stay in the game. He went seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs earned with five strikeouts and no walks.

“Merrill threw the ball extremely well,” said Lovullo. “He went as far as he could for as long as he could.

“I just thought he made a tiny mistake to McCann, who nicked him up for that solo home run. But he did a really good job of battling all night long and making pitches.”

The D-backs struck back in the bottom of the seventh when Adam Jones came in for Kelly and hit a solo pinch-hit home run — the second of his career — to bring Arizona within one.

But the Braves once again had an answer, scoring two runs off an ineffective Archie Bradley in the eighth inning. The D-backs added two more of their own in the bottom of the inning in the form of a Blake Swihart two-run home run, his second of the season.

A Johan Camargo pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning pushed Atlanta’s lead to two and the D-backs couldn’t counter in their final at-bats.