Bad inning costs Braves series
by Bob Baum
Associated Press Sports Writer
June 09, 2014 04:00 AM | 1353 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Atlanta’s Gerald Laird flips his bat after striking out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning during Sunday’s game. Arizona went on to win the game 6-5, as well as the weekend series.
Atlanta’s Gerald Laird flips his bat after striking out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning during Sunday’s game. Arizona went on to win the game 6-5, as well as the weekend series.
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PHOENIX — Fredi Gonzalez let Aaron Harang go back to the mound for the seventh, and it proved costly for the Atlanta Braves.

Harang allowed the first three batters to reach, including David Peralta’s tying two-run homer, and the Braves went on to a 6-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Despite control problems, Harang had a two-hit shutout through six innings, so Gonzalez let the pitcher bat in the sixth. The 6-foot-7 right-hander was charged with three runs and four hits to go along with six walks, matching a season high.

“You have to let him back out there,” Gonzalez said. “Yeah, he had some walks but we felt comfortable that he could maneuver through the lineup. A base hit and a two-run homer ties it. That seventh inning just unraveled on us.”

Aaron Hill reached on a leadoff single against Harang (4-5), and Peralta drove the next pitch over the wall in center for his first major league homer.

“He threw me a curveball. He just was hanging it,” Peralta said. “I just made my best swing. I saw the ball flying and I was just ‘OK, I got that one.’ It feels good. I couldn’t stop laughing or smiling.”

Peralta went 2 for 4 and is batting .429 in seven games since being called up from Double-A Mobile.

Harang then walked Cody Ross and was through for the day. Chris Owings added a two-run single off right-hander David Hale, and Paul Goldschmidt hit one far above the 413-foot sign in left-center for a 6-2 lead.

Owings was hitless in nine at-bats in the series before his base hit.

“I wasn’t as sharp (in the seventh),” Harang said. “I think a couple of stressful situations early took its toll and I left a couple of pitches up and over the plate.”

Chase Anderson pitched seven innings to become the third pitcher since 1998 to win his first five major league starts. He allowed two runs and five hits with a career-best eight strikeouts.

“Words don’t describe that,” he said, “just going 1-0, 2-0. Each time I go out there I’m just trying to give the team a chance to win. ... 5-0 feels amazing.”

The Diamondbacks have scored 45 runs in Anderson’s five wins.

Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and Ramiro Pena homered for the Braves, who lost two of three in Arizona.

Brad Ziegler, closing instead of home run-plagued Addison Reed, gave up a leadoff homer to Pena but retired the next three for his first save of the season.

Gibson said Reed “has a tired arm, nothing serious.”

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth, but lost out on an opportunity for more. Freeman connected against Joe Thatcher, and Tommy La Stella had an RBI single. Andrelton Simmons walked to load the bases before Evan Marshall struck out Gerald Laird to end the inning.

Atlanta jumped in front on Upton’s two-run drive in the sixth, and that looked as if it might be enough for Harang for a while.

There was a smattering of boos for Upton, who began his career in Arizona. Gonzalez called the reception a shame. Upton shrugged it off.

“I am happy exactly where I am at,” Upton said. “It is a place that I shared five years with. I enjoyed it, but a lot of people didn’t enjoy seeing me back.”

Peralta’s leadoff single in the fifth was Arizona’s first hit of the game. The Diamondbacks went on to load the bases on Anderson’s bunt for his first major league hit, but failed to score.

Anderson got some help from his defense in the fifth. Third baseman Martin Prado made a diving stop of Laird’s grounder, and then falling backward threw from his right knee to first, where Goldschmidt snagged it on one bounce for the out.

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