Three Cuts: Wood’s gem, red-hot offense power Braves past D-backs
Behind Alex Wood’s dominant start and an offense that scored more than seven runs for the third straight game, the Braves are back above .500.
They pushed past the Diamondbacks 8-1 Monday, continuing a strong turnaround after dropping four of the first five games on this road trip.
"It’s a good all-around game," said first baseman Freddie Freeman. "Woody pitched awesome tonight. The offense, 1-9 innings, we were there going after it."
From Wood’s performance to Freeman staying hot and more, here are three cuts from Atlanta’s win.
It was the starting pitching that was expected to be the strength of this Atlanta team, and on this 10-game West Coast jaunt, that narrative has largely held true.
Alex Wood bottled up the Diamondbacks, allowing one run and seven hits over eight innings with four strikeouts and zero walks.
That gave Wood (4-2) three straight starts with one earned run and the eighth in a row with two walks or less. He also earned a third consecutive win for the first time in his young career.
But from a bigger-picture standpoint, Wood joined an impressive string of performances from Braves starters not named Julio Teheran on this trip.
The group of Wood, Shelby Miller, Williams Perez and Mike Foltynewicz have combined for a 1.40 ERA and 28 strikeouts to eight walks. Meanwhile, Teheran has a 9.58 ERA in this road trip and seven walks with two Ks.
Scoring an MLB-best 4.76 runs per game, Wood held the Diamondbacks in check, facing one three-ball count. Even when Arizona had the bases loaded with one out in the fifth, the only managed a run as Ender Inciarte flied out into a double play as Todd Cunningham threw out Yasmany Tomas at second base.
Wood also got into the act at the plate with a two-RBI single in the top of the second inning. He now has four hits in 15 at-bats this season after totaling three in 41 trips to the plate a year ago.
That part of Wood’s game has been among the most remarkable changes considering he never had an AB in three seasons at Georgia and totaled 20 in three minor-league seasons.
Archie Bradley came in owning left-handed hitters, who were a collective .161 against him with zero home runs in 35 innings. But Freeman changed all that, belting a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
It was nothing new for Freeman. That blast pushed his hitting streak against the Diamondbacks to 11 games and he came into Monday hitting .400 at Chase Field and already had three home runs in 12 games there.
"I always like coming here," Freeman, a Southern California native, told the ‘Atlanta Journal-Constitution’ before the game. "I always like going to the West Coast. I don’t know if it’s a certain field, team, whatever it is, but I usually seem to do well here."
After going 3 for 19 (.158) in six games from May 22-27 — three home games vs. the Brewers and the series against the Dodgers — Freeman seems to be working his way back into form at the plate. Add an RBI single to that homer and he’s 7 for 19 (.300) since Los Angeles, a run that includes two home runs off San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla.
Freeman’s history against Tuesday’s Arizona starter, Josh Collmenter, bodes well for the first baseman to build on that momentum. He’s 8 for 15 vs. the righty, which includes two doubles, a homer and two RBI.
Hitting .277/.329/.405, Andrelton Simmons is in the midst of the best offensive numbers of his four full major league seasons.
It’s a year that’s been largely defined by two things: streaks and hitting into double plays (an MLB-high 12).
One of those things continued against the Diamondbacks.
With a first-inning single, the shortstop pushed his season-high hitting streak to 10 straight games. He’s also posted eight- (May 1-9) and seven-game (April 15-23) runs this season.
Simmons, who went 3 for 5 in the win, has one hit or more in 38 games, which ties him with a group that includes Justin Upton, Mike Trout and Martin Prado for sixth-most in the majors.
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney