Braves’ HRs too much for Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — Atlanta has a found lineup it can win with.
Brian McCann homered over the swimming pool behind the right-field wall, every regular had a hit, and the Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Saturday night to win their second straight after manager Brian Snitker reworked the order to put Ronald Acuña Jr. back on top and Dansby Swanson at No. 2.
“Sometimes you just need a little tweak here or there,” said No. 3 hitter Freddie Freeman, one of four Braves with two hits. “We all know we have a great offense. Sometimes you can get into a little lull for a few days. What he did was pretty smart on his part. Today we woke up a little bit, and hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow.”
McCann’s homer made it 3-1 in the seventh inning. Atlanta’s offense broke out after scoring 11 runs in its previous five games. The Braves had 13 hits.
“I like it,” Snitker said of the new lineup. “We’ll stay with it for a while.”
Kevin Gausman (2-3) gave up one run and five hits in six innings. He escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth when Nick Ahmed flied out and Alex Avila grounded out. When the Diamondbacks loaded the bases again with one out in the sixth, Ahmed hit a sacrifice fly that cut Atlanta’s lead to 2-1 and Avila struck out.
“I was throwing my fastball where I needed to,” Gausman said. “I threw enough strikes to where they were aggressive enough to where I could throw my offspeed and not have to worry about throwing it for strikes.”
Recovered from a calf strain that caused a stint on the injured list, Jonny Venters retired his only batter, David Peralta, on a game-ending groundout for his first save.
Arizona was 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position — neither hit drove in a run — and is 6 for 52 with runners on second or third in its last five games.
“It was a frustrating loss,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Early on, we got outside our approach. We came out of our game plan and weren’t patient enough.”
Merrill Kelly (3-4) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings.
Ender Inciarte beat a shift with a two-out, RBI single to left in the second.
Acuña opened the third with a 377-foot single off the left field fence before being forced out at second base, and Josh Donaldson hit an RBI single to double the lead. Acuña has a four-game hitting streak.
“He’s getting really hitterish-looking to me,” Snitker said of Acuna.
McCann homered off a curveball from Kelly in the seventh inning, one pitch after sending a fastball just foul deep down the right-field line. Adam Jones pulled Arizona to 3-2 in the bottom half with his second career pinch-hit homer, a drive off Josh Tomlin.
Nick Markakis and Ozzie Albies singled in runs off Archie Bradley in the eighth, and Blake Swihart hit a two-run homer against Tomlin in the bottom half.
Johan Camargo had a pinch homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the ninth.
Braves: LHP Jesse Biddle (bruised right thigh, groin strain) has made three scoreless relief appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (recovering from Tommy John surgery in April 2018) is scheduled to throw another bullpen Sunday after a 23-pitch session Friday. If there are no setbacks, Walker could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. ... Avila (strained left quadriceps) was activated from the injured list and started in his first game since April 5. ... 1B/3B Jake Lamb (strained left quadriceps) has incorporated light running into other baseball activities but is unlikely to be activated during the current homestead that ends May 19.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (4-2, 2.97 ERA) starts Sunday after his previous outing was cut short in the second inning when struck on the left hand by a line drive.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Godley (1-2, 7.49 ERA) is expected to rejoin the starting rotation in the spot opened when RHP Taylor Clarke was optioned to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.