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PITTSBURGH – Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley didn’t know how to explain the moment. He settled on “weird.” He watched the ball leave Andrew McCutchen’s bat and immediately experienced a feeling that only a reliever can, the sensation of throwing a pitch that leaves you on the wrong end of a walkoff.

McCutchen’s opposite-field homer landed in the seats beyond the right-field wall on Monday evening, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth, a conclusion that came only minutes after the Diamondbacks had received a clutch homer of their own.

It figured to be a gut-punch, not just for the Diamondbacks, but also for Bradley, recent convert to relief pitching who had never lost a game in that sort of fashion. But Bradley seemed to have already compartmentalized it, moved past it. He seemed ready to pitch again.

“I think, honestly, I feel a lot better about it because of (Fernando) Rodney and those guys down there, understanding that you’re going to give those up sometimes,” Bradley said. “You’re going to lose games. You’re going to give up big homers, lose leads. And I might be right back in there tomorrow. I’m frustrated with it. I’ll learn from it, clear it and come back tomorrow ready to win.”

BOX SCORE: Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 3

The dramatic finish sent the Diamondbacks to their third consecutive defeat, dropping them to 2-3 as they approach the midway point of their 11-game road trip.

Though they received a surprisingly efficient and deep outing from reliever-turned-starter Randall Delgado, the Diamondbacks’ offense struggled against an opposing starting pitcher for the third consecutive day. Their bullpen, which had been so good for so long to start the year, failed them, just the second time a Diamondbacks reliever took a loss in May.

And yet they nearly found themselves celebrating another improbable comeback. Trailing 3-1 with two out in the ninth, manager Torey Lovullo started pulling levers. He sent Daniel Descalso up to pinch hit. He singled. Lovullo then went to Chris Iannetta.

Three days earlier, Iannetta stepped to the plate in Milwaukee representing the tying run, and he launched a two-out, two-strike homer in the top of the ninth to tie the game.

Iannetta hinted to his manager in the dugout he was going to do it again. And he did, hitting a full-count change-up from Pirates closer Tony Watson into the seats just inside the left-field foul pole, the two-run homer tying the game at 3.

“I think he loves those moments,” Lovullo said. “The same situation comes up and he was joking about it with me that he’d get the job done. He’s a man of his word.”

Said Iannetta: “I was just joking. I didn’t actually think it was going to happen.”

The good vibes didn’t last long. Bradley, who has been the Diamondbacks’ most dominant reliever, was summoned from the bullpen, and by his third pitch, it was over.

NOTES: Curveball a key to Robbie Ray’s recent success

A 97 mph fastball leaked over the plate and McCutchen teed off for his sixth career walkoff homer. As Pirates players streamed onto the field, Bradley glanced around him and began to walk toward the dugout.

“It was kind of weird,” he said. “I saw the ball leave the bat and I knew right away it was gone. Just kind of walking off, seeing them come around to celebrate – I know from being on the other side how it feels. It was a little different.”

He said Rodney didn’t say anything after the game, nor did he need to. Bradley had already learned from being around him.

“When he blew some of those saves,” Bradley said, “I watched the way he acted, the way he responded, and that’s how you want to be. You want to be the same guy day in and day out. I’m frustrated, but I’m not going to let it get me down. I’m going to come out tomorrow and be ready to go.”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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Tuesday’s game

Diamondbacks at Pirates

When: 4:05 p.m.

Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.45) vs. Pirates RHP Ivan Nova (5-3, 2.83).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Ray has dominated in his past two starts, tossing a combined 14 2/3 scoreless innings with three walks and 15 strikeouts against the Padres and Brewers. … Ray is averaging 11.1 strikeouts and 4.4 walks per nine innings. Opponents are hitting just .202 against him. … Ray did not throw well the last time he faced the Pirates, giving up four runs in four innings, allowing six hits and three walks earlier this month. … Nova pitched into the ninth inning of his most recent start, giving up four runs in 8 1/3 innings of a win over the Braves. … He has thrown at least six innings in each of his first 10 starts. … He gave up three runs in six innings against the Diamondbacks on May 14, winning his first matchup with Ray.

Coming up

Wednesday: At Pittsburgh, 9:35 a.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-1, 1.99) vs. Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.29).

Thursday: At Miami, 4:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (6-3, 3.24) vs. Marlins RHP Vance Worley (0-2, 5.00).

Friday: At Miami, 4:10 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (4-5, 5.14) vs. Marlins RHP Jose Urena (3-2, 3.14).