Braves’ offense seeks encore vs. D-backs
The Atlanta Braves extended their lead in the National League East each of the past two days, and they will aim to maintain their momentum Tuesday when they face the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second contest of a four-game series in Phoenix.
Atlanta (78-70) saw its lead over the Philadelphia Phillies get reduced to one game during a four-game skid last week. However, consecutive wins by the Braves and two straight losses by Phillies have allowed Atlanta to increase its edge to three games with just 14 contests left.
Third baseman Austin Riley was one of the many stars Monday in the Braves’ 11-4 win over the Diamondbacks. He had three doubles and three RBIs.
Riley feels the back-to-back victories — the first came against the San Francisco Giants — were much needed.
“I think to get that win (Sunday) against San Fran and then (Monday), we really got the offense going,” Riley said in a postgame television interview. “I really think these wins are huge.”
Riley, who has 92 RBIs, had plenty of help in the opener as the Braves blew the game open with a seven-run fifth inning and finished with 15 hits.
Freddie Freeman had three hits and two RBIs, Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer and Eddie Rosario also went deep.
Duvall’s blast was a mammoth 483-foot blast that cleared the seating in left-center and landed on the concourse. It was his 37th homer and raised his NL-leading RBI count to 107.
Duvall’s homer came in the fifth, when Atlanta sent 12 batters to the plate.
“We just didn’t attack the zone, didn’t pick up the baseball,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It was a very sloppy fifth inning.”
Arizona (48-102) has dropped six of its past seven games and is approaching the franchise record for losses in a season (111 in 2004).
This year’s club is only the second in franchise history to lose 100 or more games.
Ketel Marte had three doubles in Minday’s game for his second three-hit outing in five games. He is 8-for-18 (.444) during that stretch.
Arizona’s Jake McCarthy hit his first career homer. It came as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.
Right-hander Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.42 ERA) will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
He has dropped his past two starts, including an outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 14. Weaver gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and one walk while fanning four over four innings.
Weaver lost in Atlanta on April 23 when he gave up four runs and six runs in five-plus innings. He struck out five and walked four.
Overall, Weaver is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four career starts against the Braves. Duvall (2-for-9) has two homers and six RBIs off the 28-year-old.
Veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez (3-2, 2.67) will be the first pitcher on the mound Tuesday for Atlanta, manager Brian Snitker announced after the Monday game.
It is unclear how long Snitker plans to go with Chavez, who will be making just his second start of the season. His other was on June 24 when he gave up two runs and two hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs. That outing is his longest of the season.
Chavez has pitched just five total innings in six September relief appearances, allowing just one run on three hits in that span.
Right-hander Touki Toussaint, who last pitched Sept. 14, or left-hander Drew Smyly, who has thrown just one inning since Sept. 8, are among the options to follow Chavez.
Chavez is 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA in 14 career appearances (two starts) against Arizona.
–Field Level Media