Braves third baseman Chris Johnson reacts after he is unable to bare hand a ground ball Sunday against the Diamondbacks. (Reuters)
ATLANTA — The Arizona Diamondbacks, struggling to score runs during a nine-game road trip, got some offense from a familiar source on Sunday afternoon.
The Diamondbacks got a two-run homer from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Sunday. With the win, the D-backs snapped Atlanta’s nine-game winning streak. Aside from a 10-run outburst against the Pirates, the Diamondbacks scored only 18 runs in the other eight games.
“Goldie did his thing,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “He got the ball inside and kept it fair.”
The big first baseman went 2-for-3 and gave his team a 2-0 lead in the third inning with a two-run homer, his 16th, against Atlanta starter Alex Wood. The two-out shot hit the left-field foul pole and scored pitcher Wade Miley, who walked to start the inning. It was Goldschmidt’s first homer since June 15, a span of 17 games.
Goldschmidt reached base in 27 straight games. He’s hitting .329 (29-for-88) with 14 RBIs during that streak. He was 11-for-27 on the 10-game road trip that saw the Diamondbacks go 4-5.
“That guy’s got a lot of people,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s pretty legit. But three inches the other way and it might have been foul.”
Miley (4-6) pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. The left-hander was able to build on the momentum from his last start, which saw him receive no decision after allowing two runs in eight innings against Pittsburgh. He had not won since May 10 and was 0-3 with a 4.40 ERA over his previous nine starts.
“He threw it well and kept with the game plan,” Gibson said.
Arizona got some clutch relief pitching from Evan Marshall and Brad Ziegler. Marshall struck out center fielder B.J. Upton with runners on first and second to end the seventh. Ziegler allowed a pair of runners, but was bailed out when second baseman Aaron Hill made a diving stop to rob Braves right fielder Jason Heyward of a hit. Ziegler then struck out third baseman Chris Johnson to end the threat.
Closer Addison Reed pitched the ninth and earned his 20th save. Reed made it interesting by allowing a leadoff single to second baseman Tommy La Stella, but struck out catcher Christian Bethancourt and got pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to ground into a double play.
Wood (6-7) lost despite making his third straight quality start since being recalled from the minor leagues to replace the injured Gavin Floyd. Wood pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on three hits and three walks. It was the seventh time he’s received one or fewer runs of support.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Woody,” Gonzalez said. “How much more can you ask? You just tell him to keep plugging away and the tide will turn.”
The Braves got their lone run in the fourth inning. Left fielder Justin Upton walked, went to second on an infield out and scored when Johnson broke an 0-for-11 streak with a single to center field.
The Diamondbacks got an insurance run in the eighth inning. Third baseman Martin Prado lined a one-out single to left, stole second and scored when Nick Evans launched a pinch-hit double off Luis Avilan into the gap in right field.
NOTES: Arizona traded RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-10, 5.01) to the New York Yankees for LHP Vidal Nuno (2-5,5.42). Nuno began the season as the long reliever, but moved into the rotation when Ivan Nova was injured in April. Nuno has gone 2-5 with a 4.89 ERA as a starter. He will start on Tuesday against the Marlins. … Atlanta CF B.J. Upton had his career-best 11-game hitting streak ended. Upton was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. … Arizona RHP Brad Ziegler is one of six finalists for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, which is based on their baseball accomplishments, integrity, character, service to country and community involvement. … The Braves hit the road for seven games prior to the All-Star Game, with four games against the Mets and three against the Cubs. The Diamondbacks are home for a three-game series with Miami, then play a three-game series at San Francisco before the break.