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Christian Walker’s HR in 9th gives D-backs hard-earned win

Arizona Diamondbacks' Christian Walker (53) follows through on a solo-home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Arizona Diamondbacks offense had to earn a win on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves.

Two runs in the fourth wasn’t going to do it. Even after responding with four runs of their own in the seventh after four for the Braves in the fifth, that wasn’t enough, either.

The game was tied 6-6 heading into the ninth and the first hitter of the inning was Christian Walker.

The righty pulverized the second pitch he saw off Braves reliever A.J. Minter to left field, a 416-foot solo shot to give Arizona the lead and would result in a 9-6 D-backs win.

Walker had three hits on the night with two runs scored, two RBI and a walk as well. He’s now hitting .294 this season, proving in his first extended MLB opportunity that he belongs in the majors and can hit at this level.

That was Walker’s fifth home run of the season, and all five have come in the seventh inning or later. He entered the game hitting 8-of-14 in the seventh inning or later.

Adam Jones’ double to left brought home a crucial two insurance runs later in the inning. D-backs closer Greg Holland took care of business for his third save of the season.

It appeared like an easy road for Arizona and starter Robbie Ray early. Ray made it through three scoreless innings on only 37 pitches.

Warning signs flashed in the fourth, though, when Ronald Acuna Jr. mashed a 448-foot bomb to center for a solo dinger. A double and walk followed, but Ray escaped to limit the damage to a run.

It unraveled in the fifth, where five total Braves hitters reached, resulting in the four-run fifth and a three-run lead for the Braves.

Ray’s line finished at five earned runs through 6.0 innings on seven hits and four walks.

Arizona’s offense bounced back in the seventh for the aforementioned four runs of their own, coming via an Eduardo Escobar two-RBI single, a Walker RBI single and a fielders choice RBI for Wilmer Flores.

Yoshihisa Hirano earned the win out of the bullpen while Minter was given the loss.

UP NEXT

Game two for the D-backs against Atlanta is at 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday. You can listen to the action on ESPN 620 AM.

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