Diamondbacks 2, Braves 1
Josh Collmenter is out to prove his tomahawk-throwing style is no gimmick.
The Atlanta Braves, whose fans like to show their support with that ''tomahawk chop,'' succumbed to it without much of a fight on Thursday night. The Arizona right-hander with the unusual straight overhand delivery blanked Atlanta for six innings to run his scoreless streak to 21 and the Arizona Diamondbacks handed Jair Jurrjens his first loss of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Braves.
''You couldn't ask for more,'' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ''Hopefully he'll keep it going.''
Collmenter (3-0), who says he learned to throw that way playing with tomahawks as a kid, gave up two hits with one strikeout and no walks in a second start that was nearly identical to his first. The 25-year-old right-hander has allowed two runs in 26 innings, with 15 strikeouts and one walk, since being called up from Triple-A Reno, including a franchise-record 12 scoreless innings in a row as a starter.
He even mixed in a few curveballs with his staple of fastballs and nasty changeups.
''I don't want to hurt myself by walking guys,'' he said. ''That's been my game plan all along is work it in and out and mix up my pitches, keep them off balance and try and keep balls out of kind of their wheelhouse.''
He and Jurrjens were locked in a scoreless fight until Chris Young's solo home run with two outs in the sixth. Juan Miranda, who had three hits, tripled in a run later in the inning.
''Two bad pitches I left up in the middle and that was the ballgame,'' Jurrjens said. ''Two hitters I left the pitches up and they were dangerous hitters. If you leave pitches up they are going to hit it in the big leagues. Two pitches cost us the game.''
Jurrjens (5-1) lost for the first time in seven starts as Arizona swept the two-game series from Atlanta, both games by one run.
The Braves got an unearned run off closer J.J. Putz in the ninth when Brian McCann doubled off the left field wall with two outs, then right fielder Justin Upton dropped Dan Uggla's line drive for an error. Putz struck out Freddie Freeman to end the game and earn his 10th save in 10 tries.
Collmenter threw just 76 pitches, 57 for strikes, in the Diamondbacks' third straight victory and fifth in six games. He is anxious to face a team for the second time to see if he can deal with what inevitably will be adjustments by the opposition.
''That's what I'm looking forward to, is just seeing what the reaction is the second time,'' he said. ''A lot of times you can get away with things the first time, then the second time is when you're going to have to bear down and make sure that you make pitches and not just rely on the deception and the uniqueness of your delivery to get outs. You actually have to go at them.''
The Braves had won four in a row before dropping two in the desert.
Jurrjens, who entered the game with a 1.66 ERA, allowed two runs on eight hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out two, walking one intentionally and hitting a batter.
''J.J. pitched good enough to win the ballgame but our bats didn't come alive until those last two innings,'' Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ''Our pitching has been keeping us in every single ballgame since we broke spring training. Our bats have been going hot and cold, so hopefully we will get going again.''
Freeman had three hits for the Braves, including both off Collmenter. He and Alex Gonzalez singled off the lefty Paterson to start the eighth and were sacrificed to second and third by Nate McLouth's bunt. But Paterson got pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad to pop out and Vasquez came on to get Martin Prado to bounce out to third and strand both runners.
Young, 2 for 15 in the homestand up to that point, hit the first pitch from Jurrjens down the left field line into the seats for his ninth home run to make it 1-0. It was just the second homer Jurrjens has allowed this season. Miguel Montero followed with his second single of the night, then Miranda tripled high off the wall in right-center to make it 2-0.
NOTES: Diamondbacks RHP Micah Owings will be called up from Triple-A Reno to start Saturday against Minnesota. ... Arizona LHP Zach Duke will make a rehab start for Triple-A Reno at Round Rock on Monday. If all goes well, he will make his debut with the D-backs at Houston on May 28. He started the season on the DL with a broken left hand. ... The Braves optioned RHP Julio Teheran to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled RH reliever Jairo Asencio. ... Seven Atlanta batters fouled out in the first six innings. ... Until Young's homer, the top five batters in the order for both teams were a combined 0 for 26. ... Paterson, who turned 25 on Thursday, had his 18th consecutive scoreless outing to start his career, tying the Diamondbacks record set by Doug Slaten in 2006.