Braves Fall to Diamondbacks, 4-2
ATLANTA (AP) — Arizona’s visit to Atlanta provided a reminder of all the talent the Diamondbacks shipped to the Braves in their offseason trade for Shelby Miller.
Facing his former teammates, Miller finally provided a winning return on the big investment.
Miller threw six strong innings for his first victory and the Diamondbacks beat the struggling Braves 4-2 on Saturday night.
Arizona has won two straight over Atlanta after taking a six-game losing streak into the series.
The Braves’ haul in the Dec. 8 trade was significant: top shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson, right-hander Aaron Blair, who started Friday night’s game, and center fielder Ender Inciarte.
Miller, who was an All-Star and had a 3.02 ERA with the Braves last season, flourished in his return to Turner Field.
“I obviously had a good year here last year and I enjoy pitching in this park,” Miller said. “It was definitely nice to get here and get back on track, but even my last bullpen session I felt I figured out a little something, just kind of slowing down through my mechanics and stopped rushing a bit. I think that helped a ton.”
The loss left the Braves 1-14 in home games, the worst home start for any team since the 1913 Yankees lost their first 17 home decisions, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Yankees had one tie in that span.
The Braves (7-22) are off to the worst start in franchise history since 1900.
Jake Lamb had two doubles and drove in a run in Arizona’s two-run third inning that tied the game at 2-all.
Miller appeared to be headed for another tough start when he gave up a first-inning home run to Freddie Freeman and allowed another run in the second. He finished strong with four scoreless innings.
“I thought we had him on the ropes a couple of times, but we couldn’t put a crooked number up,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Brad Ziegler pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save.
Julio Teheran allowed two runs, one earned, in five innings.
Bud Norris (1-5), who lost his spot in the rotation after posting an 8.74 ERA in five starts, walked Wellington Castillo to open the sixth. Castillo scored on Brandon Drury’s double to left field, sliding under A.J. Pierzynski’s tag at the plate.
Drury started in left field and had three hits. He is hitting .316.
“Drury is just forcing our hand to put him in the lineup somewhere every night,” said Arizona manager Chip Hale.
Inciarte, who opened the season in center field, started in left field in his return from the disabled list. Gonzalez said Inciarte will play center field when Mallex Smith sits against left-handers.
Smith’s bases-loaded fly ball to left field in the second inning drove in Reid Brignac, whose bunt single toward third base against the shift started the inning.
In the transaction announced Friday night, Adonis Garcia was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Diamondbacks: A stiff neck kept OF-IF Yasmany Tomas out of the lineup for the second straight game. Hale disclosed the ailment on Saturday. He said Tomas couldn’t take batting practice on Friday but felt better on Saturday.
Braves: IF Gordon Beckham (strained left hamstring) could come off the 15-day DL early next week.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (1-3, 4.91) will try to extend his streak of 16 2/3 scoreless innings against Atlanta in Sunday’s final game of the series. It is the longest stretch of consecutive innings by an Arizona pitcher against an opponent to start a career. He is 2-0 against Atlanta in three games, including two starts.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-1, 9.82) will make his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 2. He lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs in a 4-1 loss to the Mets in his first start.