Wisler throws 8 strong, leads Braves over Diamondbacks
PHOENIX (AP) — Matt Wisler used his most recent time in the minors trying to fine-tune his pitches. That served the Atlanta Braves' 23-year-old right-hander well Thursday night when he pitched a gem against the Arizona Diamondbacks hours after being called up from Triple-A.
Wisler (5-11) didn't allow the Diamondbacks a hit for six innings and led the Braves to a 3-1 victory. He ended up allowing one run and two hits with four strikeouts and three walks in eight innings.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth inning for his 12th save.
Paul Goldschmidt broke up Wisler's no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the seventh. Goldschmidt scored on Chris Owings' groundout.
"I felt a lot better on the mound than I have in a while," Wisler said. "The big pitch was my two-seamer. I had a lot of success with that against guys. Slider got better as the game went along."
Wisler's manager and teammates came away impressed.
"Fun to watch. He did a great job. I told him after the game, 'Your bullpen thanks you,'" Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. "He was on the attack and was the aggressor. It was like he was on a mission almost."
Robbie Ray (7-12) had won his last two starts, but his pitch count surpassed 100 before the fifth inning was over. He allowed two runs and six hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
The Braves scored twice in the third when the first three hitters singled. Freddie Freeman drove in Ender Inciarte, then Nick Markakis beat out a ground ball to avoid a double play that allowed Adonis Garcia to score from third base.
"Just there in the middle innings, command got a way from me a little bit but I was able to battle and was able to hold them to just two runs, so I am pretty happy with that," Ray said.
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson, once a top Diamondbacks prospect, took two hits away with good defensive plays. He went deep in the hole to flag down a sharply hit grounder from Owings and threw him out at first base in the second inning. Then in the third, Swanson reached to catch Tuffy Gosewich's line drive up the middle.
"We're going to be talking about this kid at shortstop, because he does things naturally," Snitker said.
Swanson reached on an error to lead off the sixth and scored on Gordon Beckham's double off Arizona reliever Silvino Bracho.
"Tip your cap, guys battled him but he just beat us today," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said of Wisler. "If the pitcher beats you, he beats you."
Freeman, playing first base, tumbled head first over a railing down the right field line trying to run down a foul pop in the second inning. Freeman somersaulted over the railing and his lower back slammed into a row of chairs beneath the padded fence. Teammates and staff rushed to his aid, but Freeman was able to get to his feet and remained in the game.
"I was just glad I didn't hit my head. My back's a little sore, but not enough to take me out," Freeman said after the game. He stayed on his feet and took some swings in the clubhouse batting cage after the inning to stay loose. "My hand's a little sore too. I feel fortunate."
The Diamondbacks called up Bracho and pitcher Vicente Campos before Thursday's game, Bracho from Triple-A Reno and Campos for his major league debut from Double-A Mobile. Relievers Dominic Leone and Steve Hathaway were optioned to Reno.
Campos was one of the players acquired from the Yankees for reliever Tyler Clippard on July 31. Brach has pitched in 15 games for Arizona this season. He warmed up to enter the game in the seventh inning but was not called upon.
The Braves optioned pitcher Madison Younginer to Triple-A Gwinnett. Wisler and pitcher Brandon Cunniff were recalled along with infielder Brandon Snyder, who took the roster spot left open by the trade of Jeff Francoeur on Wednesday.
Braves: RHP Rob Whalen went on the 15-day DL with right shoulder fatigue.
Diamondbacks: OF A.J. Pollock, who has missed all season after fracturing his right elbow, will be activated on Friday. He is scheduled to play two of every three games over the rest of 2016. ... Arizona sent OF Mitch Haniger back to Triple-A Reno late Thursday night to make room for Pollock on the roster.
Braves: RHP Joel De La Cruz (0-6) will face the San Francisco Giants on Friday night in California. He has never faced the Giants.
Diamondbacks: RHP Braden Shipley (2-3) is set for his seventh career start and third at home on Friday against Cincinnati. Shipley has allowed 13 earned runs over his last two starts (10 1-3 innings).