D-backs’ Parra walks off Braves

PHOENIX –– His bat was broken and he had just received a mud shampoo.

It was one of the best nights of Gerardo Parra’s season.

Parra’s broken-bat single in the 11th inning drove in the winning run in a 4-3 victory over Atlanta at Chase Field, unleashing what has become the D-backs’ signature victory celebration, a mob scene that includes application of a dirt-and-water compress to the player with the winning hit.

Parra was still shaking dirt off his uniform when he spoke to reporters 20 minutes later.

"I just wanted to put the ball in play," said Parra, who looped a single to shallow center field while breaking his bat on David Carpenter’s 97 mph fastball.

"He is nasty."

The victory was magnified by what the Diamondbacks (27-37) had to overcome to get it. They can with their second home series of the season Sunday and can get within nine games of .500 for the first time since April 18 because they did not permit the early struggles against Atlanta starter Ervin Santana stick with them.

The D-backs were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position through eight innings before Aaron Hill hit a pinch-hit double down the right field line off Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel with Ender Inciarte on second base to the game with one out in the ninth. Inciarte had walked and stolen second base before Hill hit.

After Atlanta went ahead on a Jason Heyward home run in the 10th inning, Miguel Montero tied it with a homer, his third in his last three games, in the last of the inning. He admitted he had one thing in mind.

"I went to the plate trying to hit the ball out, and I did," Montero said. "I’ve done that many times in my career, and it didn’t happen until today. Tomorrow it probably won’t happen if I go to the plate the same way."

Then, after Randall Delgado struck out the side after a leadoff single in the 11th inning with some of the best breaking pitches he has thrown this season, the D-backs rallied for their third walk-off victory of the season. 

Cody Ross singled with one out and went to second when Didi Gregorius walked on an eight-pitch at-bat to bring up Parra, whose walk-off hit was his first since his rookie season of 2009. That hit made the D-backs 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

"We just never let up," Ross said.

The D-backs (27-37) were most pumped about their ability to get to Kimbrel, who broke a tie with John Smoltz for the most saves in franchise history with his 155th career save Friday by retiring all four batters he faced. Kimbrel is third in major league history with a .900 save percentage among pitchers with at least 150 saves.

D-backs 4, Braves 3

"He’s normally lights out," Ross said.

"It’s gives you an extra boost," Montero said. "You are facing one of the best closers in the game right now. Being able to come back and tie the game is huge. Then we are feeling good about ourselves and they hit a homer come back and take the lead again. We just said, all right, we have tied it already against the best closer, we might as do it against somebody else."

Montero was particularly frustrated before his at-bat in the 10th inning, having stranded six runners, five in scoring position, in his first four at-bats.

"I had a lot of chances to help the team get the lead, and I didn’t do it," Montero said. "It really bothered me, especially when (Wade) Miley throws that type of game. Not being able to score for him, he threw a hell of a game and we had plenty of opportunities.

Miley gave up two runs, one earned, in seven innings.

"Every win right now feels great, especially when you are down in the ninth and you come back and beat them," Montero said.

Didi Gregorius singled in the first inning in his third straight start in the leadoff spot. He homered in the first inning of his previous two starts. He also drew two walks and stole a base Saturday, his second walk contributing to the 11th-inning rally.

12 — consecutive appearances in which Oliver Perez has not given up an earned run.

* Delgado struck out Justin Upton on an 85 mph slider and got Evan Gattis on a 79 mph curve ball for the first two outs in the 11th inning, after Freddie Freeman opened with a single. Delgado has been using his slider more this season, and the difference in velocity — his fastball is usually in the low- to mid-90 range — can lead to some bad swings when he is locating.

* Martin Prado has hit safely in all eight games he has played against his former teammates in Atlanta. He had three singles and scored a run on his bobblehead night Saturday.

* David Peralta had two singles to extend his hitting streak to six games, or every one he has played in the majors since his promotion a week ago. He is tied with Alex Cabrera for the longest hitting streak to start a D-backs career. Cabrera did it in 2000. 

* Miley has not walked a batter in his last two starts for the second time in his career. He first did it June, 2012. The only batter who did much damage against him was Gattis, who had three hits including two doubles. "Next time I’ll roll it up to him to walk him," said Miley, who was trying to pitch around Gattis before his RBI double gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead in the sixth.

* J.J. Putz is back in town after pitching back-to-back rehab games at Triple-A Reno, and he is likely to throw a simulated game Monday before consideration is given to his to return to the roster. "I feel great," Putz said.

The D-backs added the final 30 members of their draft class Saturday, the last day of the draft, and took two players with local roots. TCU and former Mountain Pointe High first baseman Kevin Cron was taken in the 14th round and Pinnacle High outfielder Gerard Hernandez was selected in the 21st round. Cron is the son of D-backs’ organizational hitting instructor Chris Cron and his brother, C.J., recently was promoted to the Los Angeles Angels. Kevin Cron set an Arizona high school record with 24 homers as a senior at Mountain Pointe.

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