Braves-Diamondbacks Preview

Jair Jurrjens has not pitched particularly well in Arizona

during his career, but he hasn’t lost there, either. He’s thrown

the ball well everywhere he’s pitched this season for the Atlanta

Braves, and he hasn’t lost anywhere.

Jurrjens looks to remain undefeated on the season and help the

Braves avoid a two-game sweep in Arizona on Thursday night.

Jurrjens (5-0, 1.66 ERA) is two wins shy of matching his total

from last season, when he missed two months with a strained

hamstring. After he opened 2011 on the disabled list with a right

oblique strain, Jurrjens has not allowed more than two earned runs

in six starts.

“He’s been good every outing,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez

said.

The right-hander won his fourth straight start Saturday,

retiring the first 17 batters he faced and going on to pitch 7 1-3

innings, giving up two earned runs and three hits in a 5-3 victory

over Philadelphia.

“He’s learning how to pitch,” teammate Chipper Jones told the

Braves’ official website. “He’s throwing two-seamers, four-seamers

and sliders. He’s throwing to both sides of the plate.”

Jurrjens has not been nearly as sharp in two career starts at

Chase Field, surrendering eight earned runs in 11 innings. However,

he’s won both thanks to 21 runs of support from his teammates.

Now, he will try to help the Braves (25-20) bounce back after

their after four-game winning streak was snapped with a 5-4,

11-inning loss at Arizona in Wednesday’s series opener.

Martin Prado singled to extend his hitting streak to 10 games,

but Atlanta could not hold a one-run lead in top of the 11th inning

as Arizona (19-23) scored twice to win its second straight game and

fourth in the last five.

“That’s the whole thing we talk about all the time, trying to do

everything hard and giving 100 percent,” said Diamondbacks third

baseman Ryan Roberts, who scored the winning run on Justin Upton’s

ground ball.

Upton is batting .389 with two home runs and four RBIs in his

last four games.

For Atlanta, Prado is batting .355 with 18 RBIs in his last 21

games. He’ll try to stay hot when the Braves face rookie

right-hander Josh Collmenter (2-0, 0.90) for the first time.

Collmenter, who had allowed two runs in 14 innings over seven

relief appearances, entered the rotation Saturday and limited the

Los Angeles Dodgers to two hits in six innings of a 1-0 victory,

winning his first career start.

“Coming up through the minors as a starter, I always dreamed of

being a starter in the big leagues,” Collmenter said. So I was

excited to get this opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it

when I got out there,” said Collmenter, who replaced the demoted

Barry Enright in Arizona’s rotation.