Braves hand D-backs fourth straight loss
PHOENIX (AP) — For the second night in a row, the Arizona Diamondbacks played punching bag for the Atlanta Braves.
Brian McCann hit a two-run homer, Freddie Freeman had a pair of RBI doubles and Atlanta beat the Diamondbacks 9-1 on Friday.
Brandon Beachy (2-1) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings, striking out five and walking none as the Braves won their fourth in a row and ninth in 10 games after starting the season 0-4.
“They are playing well,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “We aren’t playing so well right now, but we will be.”
Trevor Cahill (1-1) gave up seven runs, four earned, and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in his Chase Field debut for the Diamondbacks. Arizona has lost four straight, all at home.
“It is really challenging and a lot of it is kind of in our head, too,” Cahill said of facing a club that is playing so well. “I was thinking I have to make quality pitches and then I would leave the ball over the plate instead of relaxing and attacking them. They have a good lineup and they are hitting on all cylinders and that makes it tough.”
Atlanta has won the first two of the four-game series by a combined score of 19-3.
“You don’t like it. We are better than that but we are facing an extremely hot club right now,” Gibson said. “Freeman has hit everything we have thrown at him. You can’t put it all on yourself. He has hit every pitch and when you make mistakes he hits them very hard.”
Freeman, who homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-2 win, doubled in a run in the third and another in the sixth. The Braves’ leader with 13 RBIs, he also singled and walked.
“I was pretty dialed in last year about July,” Freeman said. “I feel about the same right now. I’m just getting the pitches to hit and I’m not missing them.”
Paul Goldschmidt singled twice and walked for the Diamondbacks, scuffling offensively without injured Chris Young and Justin Upton.
Atlanta scored in the third when Martin Prado singled, then raced home from first on Freeman’s double to the right-field corner.
Cahill retired the first two batters on groundouts in the fifth, but he walked Freeman on a 3-2 count, then McCann lined a 2-1 pitch over the right-field fence. McCann’s third home run of the season put Atlanta up 3-0.
A fielding error by second baseman Aaron Hill on Chipper Jones’ grounder opened the way for the Braves’ four-run sixth.
Jason Heyward followed with a single. After a fielder’s choice put runners at first and third, Beachy put down a bunt and Jones beat Cahill’s throw home. Michael Bourn’s double brought in another run, then Prado’s sacrifice fly made it 6-0.
Craig Breslow relieved Cahill and gave up a double to Freeman, this one to the left-field corner, that scored the Braves’ seventh run of the night.
Atlanta tacked on two in the ninth, including a bases-loaded walk by Arizona reliever Joe Paterson.
“There’s really not much for me to say,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, “other than, let’s just keep it rolling. Let’s play again tomorrow.”
NOTES: Beachy has allowed one earned run in three starts, giving him a 0.47 ERA. … Heyward extended his hitting streak to 10 games, matching his career high. … Jones was back after sitting out Thursday night’s series opener to have fluid drained from his surgically repaired left knee. … Upton again was out of the Arizona lineup with a sore thumb, although he was available as a pinch-runner. … The Diamondbacks last lost four straight at home Sept. 4-7, 2010. …. Arizona sends lefty Joe Saunders (1-0, 0.64 ERA) to the mound against Tommy Hanson (1-2, 3.71) on Saturday night.