The D-backs opened their three-game home series vs. the Braves with a convincing 10-2 victory on Monday night, offering at least temporary validation for manager Torey Lovullo's belief that the sky is not falling, despite 14 losses in their previous 20 games.
Stay the course remains Lovullo's mantra as they play game No. 100 tonight. At 57-42, they are only one win shy of the franchise's best record through 99 games and 5 ½ games clear in the race for a wild-card berth.
"I'm watching the same group of guys do the same thing every single day. Nothing is really changing in our clubhouse," Lovullo said.
"Seasons are full of ups and downs. We were aware of that possibility. We're not playing lousy, awful baseball. We're just getting beat. When that happens, I'm OK with that. I just want us to digest it, get rid of it and get ready for the next day. I think we've been doing this this entire time."
Walker missed his last scheduled start in Cincinnati to be with his wife Heather for the birth of their son, Zayden.
The last time he took the mound was against these same Braves in Atlanta on July 14. He did not get a decision while giving up two runs and five hits over six innings in a 4-3 loss.
Walker hasn't recorded a victory since June 21, but he has given up three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his past 11 starts.
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Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 3.87)
Foltynewicz, who throws a fastball in the upper 90s, is 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his past five starts, including one against Oakland in which he lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning. He started the season with four losses in his first six starts, but he's gone 8-1 since then and hasn't lost since May 27.
He ended the Dodgers' 11-game winning streak in his last start on Thursday, limiting them to three runs over 6 1/3 innings. "I got away with mistakes here and there, but they hit some good pitches, too," he said. "Overall, a good night."
He wasn't involved in the decision in Atlanta's 8-5 win over the D-backs on July 15 after surrendering eight hits and three runs in 5 1/3 innings. In five career starts vs. Arizona, he is 0-1 with a 5.97 ERA, but he has struck out 31 and walked only six.
A.J. Pollock is 5 for 8 with a home run against Foltynewicz, and David Peralta is 4 for 7 with a homer and 5 RBI.
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Putting the pieces together
The guys with the initials -- J.D. Martinez and A.J. Pollock -- contributed two home runs and seven RBI in Monday's victory, and the D-backs are looking for a continued boost from these two as they become more regular fixtures at the top of the lineup.
Martinez's 440-foot home run was his first hit as a Diamondback since being acquired from the Tigers last week and then being held out of the starting lineup for four games after being hit in the hand with a fastball. He has 17 home runs in 60 games and a .628 slugging percentage that ranks fifth in the majors -- behind only Mike Trout, Freddie Freeman, Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper.
Pollock, an All-Star two seasons ago, appears to be rounding into shape after missing seven weeks with a groin injury. He is 11 for 22 with four doubles, two triples, two home runs and nine runs scored in his last six games.
The D-backs were 6 for 16 with runners in scoring position on Monday, after going 5 for 27 in three games vs. the Nationals.
"If we get everybody clicking, it's going to be pretty scary," Pollock said.
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