Grit Index: D-backs lose to Braves in Upton’s return
The Arizona Diamondbacks saw all they needed to see from former teammate Justin Upton on Monday night when they lost to the Braves 10-1 with the help of his two-run homer in a four-run sixth inning.
D-backs starter Wade Miley cruised through four innings, but the wheels started to fall off in the fifth when a runner reached first on an error by Martin Prado. Miley walked the next batter, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Then another former D-back, Chris Johnson, launched a three-run shot over the left field wall to make it 3-1. That was Johnson’s first career home run at Chase Field. He did not homer in 76 at-bats in 2012 when he was with Arizona.
It was more bad news for Miley when he headed out to the mound for the sixth. The Braves batted around and the offense was headlined by the two-run homer by Upton that brought his brother B.J. home after he was hit by a pitch on the shoulder. Miley was pulled in the middle of the inning after facing five batters without recording an out.
With that home run, Upton also became the first Brave since Andres Galarraga in 1998 to hit at least 13 homers in the team’s first 28 games.
The Braves tacked on one more run in eighth off reliever Tony Sipp and two runs in the ninth against reliever Will Harris.
The lone Arizona run came from a solo shot by Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning. The ball traveled about 10 rows deep into the left field bleachers. It was Goldschmidt’s 10th of the season.
The Diamondbacks drew 25,052 fans for Monday’s game against the Braves. That’s the biggest Monday night crowd of the season, aside from the Opening Day crowd of 48,033 on Monday, April.
The D-backs have now lost three straight after a season-high five-game win streak from May 6-10 and they are 2-6 in their last eight games at Chase Field.
The 10 runs the D-backs allowed Monday night are the most they’ve allowed all season. The previous high was nine runs in a 9-6 loss to the Giants on May 1st. It’s also the team’s largest margin of defeat since a 12-3 loss on August 20, 2012 against the Marlins.
Miley has now failed to complete six innings in three of his last four starts. He worked five-plus innings and gave up six hits, six earned runs, two home runs, two walks and recorded one strikeout. He also gave up one sac bunt, one sac fly and recorded two wild pitches while throwing 86 pitches, but only 52 for strikes.
The seven runs allowed by Miley are also the second-most he’s surrendered in his career. He gave up eight runs to the Brewers on June 30th, 2012.
• With his home run in the first inning, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt became the ninth D-backs player to reach at least 10 home runs before the 40th game of the season. His 31 RBI are also tied for fifth-most by a Diamondback before the 40th game.
• Justin Upton’s sixth inning home run traveled 440 feet, his second-longest of the season (460-foot HR on April 1). He finished 4-for-5 on the night with two singles, a double and a home run with two RBIs and two runs scored. He and Johnson were each just a triple shy of the cycle.
He Said It:
“I don’t think. I mean he played hard when he was here. That was never an issue. Looks like he flattened his bat out a little bit, he’s very quick right now. The home run he hit was just a changeup that was out over the middle of the plate and that’s not really where you want to put that pitch and as he’s been doing this year, he got it.” – Manager Kirk Gibson when asked whether or not he thought Justin Upton looked like he played with some extra motivation on Monday.
“I haven’t been throwing well this season, period. I just gotta work on some things and get back after it.” – Miley after the game.
The D-backs face the Braves in game two of this three-game series on Tuesday with lefty Patrick Corbin on the hill for Arizona against Atlanta righty Julio Teheran. Corbin is 5-0 on the season with a 1.75 ERA. He’s the first D-backs pitcher to start 5-0 since Brandon Webb started 2008 with a 9-0 record. His last outing was May 9 against the Phillies. He outdueled Cole Hamels for the win in that game, allowing one earned run in 6.1 innings pitched. This will be Corbin’s second career game against the Braves. First pitch on Tuesday is at 6:40 p.m. on Arizona Sports 620.