video thumbnail

ATL@ARI: Gibson chats after loss to Braves

PHOENIX -- The D-backs began their season 4-0, while the Braves started 0-4. Both records are now distant memories, but for two contrasting reasons.

The Braves are one of the hottest teams in baseball, and the D-backs are struggling to find themselves without the services of Chris Young and Justin Upton in the lineup.

On Friday, the two clubs showed why their early seasons are moving in opposite directions.

For the second consecutive night, the D-backs melted down while the Braves' offense exploded late, as Arizona fell, 9-1, at Chase Field.

"We're banged up and we're not swinging the bats well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They're playing well and we're not playing so well, but we will. We'll come out of it."

With the defeat, the D-backs dropped back to .500 in losing their fourth straight and sixth of their last eight games.

The skid began Tuesday against the Pirates, the same day Young injured his shoulder slamming into the outfield wall and Upton got fluid drained from his thumb. Young is now on the 15-day disabled list, while Upton hasn't had a plate appearance since.

"There's no question things aren't going our way," Gibson said. "They caught us at a tough time, but we've been through it before. We'll come back tomorrow and try to fight out of it."

After giving up 10 runs on Thursday, the D-backs' pitching staff was again roughed up by the Braves on Friday. Over the first two games of the four-game series, Atlanta has collected 28 hits.

Braves starter Brandon Beachy allowed four singles over 7 1/3 scoreless innings Friday in the team's ninth win over their last 10 games. The right-hander struck out five and allowed a runner to reach scoring position just once.

"He threw well and we weren't able to get in hitter's counts often, so it's tough," said D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who reached base three times Friday on two hits and a walk. "I was able to get some good pitches out over the middle of the plate to hit and find a hole out there."

D-backs starter Trevor Cahill began the game by serving up a single to Michael Bourn, then walked Martin Prado to work into an early jam. But after inducing two fly-ball outs and hitting Dan Uggla with a pitch, the right-hander got out of the first inning unscathed when Chipper Jones grounded out to second.

One inning later, Goldschmidt singled with one out and appeared to safely steal second base during the next at-bat, but just like A.J. Pollock did on Wednesday against the Pirates, the D-backs first baseman over slid the bag and Prado tagged him out.

"I slid too late," Goldschmidt said. "I made a mistake. I shouldn't have done that and it ended up costing us."

The Braves took the momentum into the third inning and jumped on the scoreboard first when Freddie Freeman doubled down the right-field line with one out to score Prado from first base. Cahill escaped further damage by retiring the next two batters.

While the D-backs' offense continued to struggle, the Braves extended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning on a two-out, two-run homer off the bat of Brian McCann.

In the bottom of the frame, Goldschmidt again singled with one out, but Gerardo Parra and Ryan Roberts couldn't break through against Beachy.

For the second consecutive night, the Braves exploded in the sixth to blow the game open.

The inning began with an error on Aaron Hill that allowed Jones to reach first base, followed by a Jason Heyward single. After Jones advanced to third on a forceout, Beachy brought in the first run of the frame with a safety squeeze that Goldschmidt couldn't flip to Miguel Montero in time to tag out Jones.

Bourn then doubled in a run and Prado hit a sacrifice fly to end Cahill's night after 5 2/3 innings and four earned runs on seven hits.

"It's really challenging, a lot of it is in our head," Cahill said. "I was thinking I had to make quality pitches, and I'd leave a ball over the plate instead of relaxing. They have a good lineup and they are firing on all cylinders."

Craig Breslow came out of the bullpen and gave up an RBI double to Freeman before retiring McCann and ending the inning with the D-backs down, 7-0.

"I was pretty dialed in last year in July and I feel about the same right now," Freeman said. "I'm getting pitches to hit and I'm not missing them right now."

The D-backs got on the board in the ninth when Hill scored on Goldschmidt's forceout. Comments