Chase Anderson is making this look easy.
The right-hander is five starts into his big league career has yet to feel what it’s like to lose.
He won again Sunday, helping lead the Diamondbacks to a 6-5 series-clinching victory against the Atlanta Braves in front of an announced crowd of 26,534 at Chase Field.
Anderson pitched five scoreless innings before ex-Diamondback Justin Upton hit a two-out, two-run home run in the sixth. Those were the only runs allowed by Anderson, who struck out a career-high eight batters in seven innings, the most he’s thrown this season.
“He really threw one of his strongest games with us,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, Anderson’s teammates picked him up scoring six times, including a pair of two-run home runs by David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt.
It marked the fourth time the Diamondbacks have scored six or more runs in an inning this season.
“Words don’t describe that, I guess you could say,” said Anderson, who became just the third pitcher since 1998 to win his first five Major League starts. “Each time I go out there just trying to give the team a chance to win. The offense puts the runs up and we win the game. 5-0 feels amazing.”
The Diamondbacks have won five of six games and eight of 11; and they won yet another series, making it four series victories in their last five and eight of their last 11.
At 28-37, the Diamondbacks are fewer than 10 games under .500 for the first time since April 18.
“We can’t sit and look at the big picture right now,” said Brad Ziegler, who pitched the ninth to earn the save, his first since Sept. 29, 2013 against the Washington Nationals. “We have to take it in small steps, small doses. We can’t worry what other teams do. We’ve just got to go out and play well enough to win ourselves.”
Of course David Peralta ended Aaron Harang’s no-hit bid. All he does is hit the ball, which he has now done at least once in every game he’s played since his promotion from Double-A Mobile. Peralta is the first Diamondback to hit safely in his first seven Major League games. He is batting .429 (12-for-28).
Anderson recorded his first big league hit in his second at-bat of the game. Looking to move the runners over, he laid down a perfect bunt to the left of the pitcher’s mound. No Braves defender was in the area and Anderson reached first safely to load the bases in the fifth.
Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero walked in back-to-back plate appearances in both the first and fourth innings. Goldschmidt, who has worked a free pass five times in six games this month, ranks second to Montero (28) in walks this season. He has 24.
Martin Prado made a spectacular play in the fifth — with one out and a runner on first, Gerald Laird hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line. Prado drove to his right, made the stop behind the bag and then on one knee threw out Laird, likely saving a run.
Chase Anderson continued a trend that’s been plaguing Diamondbacks pitchers all season: Giving up the long ball. The Justin Upton sixth inning home run was the fifth Anderson has allowed in as many starts. And at the time, it was the 77th surrendered by Diamondbacks pitchers, the most in the majors.
Two innings later, home run ball No. 78 left the yard. On in relief of Anderson in the eighth, Joe Thatcher, who had held opponents scoreless in 10 of his last 11 appearances, allowed a two-out solo home run to Freddie Freeman, cutting the Diamondbacks’ lead to 6-3.
And then one inning later yet another home run was hit by the Braves, this one by pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena who, on the very first offering by Brad Ziegler — making his fifth appearance in six games –deposited the baseball into the pool area to make it a one run game.
Prior to the six-run seventh inning, the Diamondbacks had numerous scoring opportunities against starter Aaron Harang. They left two runners on in the first, one in the fourth and the bases loaded in the fifth, all without a single run scoring. Prado lined out to second to strand a pair in the first and hit into a double play to wipe out the threat in the fourth, while Gerardo Parra went first pitch swinging and grounded into a 1-2-3 double play in the fifth. The Diamondbacks went 1-for 6 with runners in scoring position through five innings.
Stat of the Game
31: The amount of run support Chase Anderson has received in his first five Major League starts
He Said It
“About five minutes before the game started,” answered Brad Ziegler when asked when manager Kirk Gibson told him he’d be called upon in the ninth to close out the game, if necessary. “He just said ‘Addison (Reed) is tired and he’s thrown a lot lately too and you probably feel a little bit better than him right now so we’re going to try to give him a day off.’ I said, ‘OK.'”
The Diamondbacks went a combined 4-for-28 (.143) with runners in scoring position in the final two games of the series, both wins
Chase Anderson consistently got ahead of hitters, throwing a first pitch strike to eight of the first 10 and 20 of the 27 batters overall he faced
Bronson Arroyo – yes, the pitcher — pinch ran for Eric Chavez after Chavez worked a four-pitch walk pinch-hitting for Anderson in the seventh inning
Miguel Montero’s one-out double in the seventh inning marked the 21st straight game the Diamondbacks have recorded at least one double
Evan Marshall needed 34 pitches to record one out and retire the Braves in the eighth as he struggled with his command — allowing two hits and walking two batters
With Ender Inciarte getting the day off, David Peralta made his first career start in center field, a position he had played only eight times while in the minors, including four games this season in Double-A Mobile
Josh Collmenter takes an eight-start unbeaten streak into his outing against the Houston Astros.
First pitch of the series opener on Monday is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
In his last time on the mound, Collmenter (4-2, 3.63) allowed four runs in five innings at the Colorado Rockies but did not factor in the decision. He’s 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career starts against the Astros. Houston, meanwhile, counters with second-year right-hander Jarred Cosart (4-5, 4.16), who has lost two of the last three times he’s pitched.
The Diamondbacks have won nine straight and 12 of 13 games against the Astros.