The Arizona Diamondbacks were looking for a quick way to forget about Monday’s lopsided 8-1 defeat to the Atlanta Braves. And they found it on Tuesday.
A.J. Pollock homered, Paul Goldschmidt reached base five more times and the D-backs snapped their two-game skid by toppling the Braves 7-6 in front of 17,101 fans at Chase Field.
Monday’s effort was a little lackluster — but also somewhat understandable — given the fact that they had just played 17 innings halfway across the country the day before. Letting a loss like that linger would’ve been an issue though. So Tuesday’s game took on a little more importance.
To get the victory, Arizona touched up Atlanta starter Shelby Miller to the tune of four earned runs on six hits and six walks in just 4.1 innings. It was Miller’s worst outing of the year by far. In fact, the 24-year old righty has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. Prior to Tuesday, he hadn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a game all year.
For the D-backs, Josh Collmenter got into a little trouble early, falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first. The Arizona hitters responded quickly though, and Collmenter fought back. He carried a 4-1 lead into the sixth, but would exit with two outs. At that point, the Braves racked up five runs to steal back a 6-4 lead. Never relenting, the D-backs hitters were up to the challenge again, chipping away with a run in the bottom half of the inning, then scoring two on Pollock’s sixth home run of the year in the seventh.
From there, the bullpen settled down. Andrew Chafin (3-0) got the win, Daniel Hudson pitched a dominant eighth inning and Brad Ziegler notched his fourth save of the season. Brandon Cunniff (2-1) took the loss for Atlanta.
With runners on first and third and two outs in the bottom of the second, Collmenter strode to the plate and coaxed a walk to keep the inning alive. That set the stage for Ender Inciarte, who promptly drove in two D-back runs by slashing a single to right.
Inciarte then made an acrobatic diving catch in foul territory on a Jace Peterson fly ball in the third. He stayed on the ground momentarily after landing awkwardly near the wall, but eventually got up and was able to stay in the game.
As if all that weren’t enough, Inciarte followed it up with a lunging grab on a Freddie Freeman liner two batters later.
After letting the lead slip away in the sixth, Arizona snatched it back when Pollock took the first Cunniff pitch he saw over the right field wall and into the swimming pool. It was the 51st home run to be hit into the pool, the 29th by a Diamondback player and the first since Didi Gregorious knocked one into the water on July 23, 2014. It also proved to be the game-winner.
With runners on second and third and just one out in the fifth, Nick Ahmed chopped one to short. Rather than hold at third, Jordan Pacheco tried to score, and was thrown out by roughly one mile. Arizona ultimately came away with no runs in the inning.
That came back to bite the D-backs later, when they allowed five runs in the sixth — all with two outs — to turn a 4-1 lead into a 6-4 deficit. J.C. Ramirez allowed two hits, walked one and surrendered three earned runs — all without retiring a single batter. Chafin came in after him to strike out Pedro Ciriaco and finally close out the sixth, but not before giving up a two-run double off the bat of Atlanta’s Todd Cunningham.
STAT OF THE GAME
19: That’s the number of times Paul Goldschmidt has reached base in the last five games.
HE SAID IT
“You know, he’s always rock solid out there. But when he gets even more hot than he usually is, I wouldn’t go near it. I’d stay out of the zone too… yeah, I don’t really blame them.” – A.J. Pollock, talking about teams pitching around Paul Goldschmidt.
-Pollock has now hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games.
-Each team had an inning where all nine batters got to bat. Arizona scored three runs while doing it in the second, Atlanta plated five while pulling off the feat in the sixth.
-Goldschmidt walked in each of his first four plate appearances, two of which were intentional.
-Goldschmidt’s second inning walk pushed in a run, giving him 44 RBI on the season and 346 for his career. The latter number ties Mark Reynolds for seventh on the D-backs’ all-time list.
-Arizona has hit at least one home run in 10 of the last 11 games.
-With his three strikeouts Tuesday, Collmenter moved to 412 for his career — passing Brian Anderson for eighth place in D-backs’ history.
The two clubs will wrap up their three-game series Wednesday afternoon at 12:40 p.m. Pregame coverage begins a half-hour earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Two right-handed pitchers will square off, with Atlanta throwing Mike Foltynewicz and Arizona countering with Rubby De La Rosa.
The D-backs will get their first look at Foltynewicz (3-2), who is off to a decent start for the Braves. He broke in with the Astros as a reliever last year, but has made six starts already for Atlanta in 2015. In his last outing, he scattered two earned runs over 6.2 innings in a loss to the San Francisco Giants.
De La Rosa (4-2) hasn’t factored into a decision in any of his previous three starts. His last appearance came on May 29, when he allowed four earned runs over five innings in a 7-5 victory at Milwaukee.
Following the series with Atlanta, Arizona will play host to the New York Mets for four games.