Winning in Atlanta has been an issue for the Arizona Diamondbacks for a few years. Now the Diamondbacks are having problems on the road in general and look to salvage the finale of a three-game series tonight against the Braves.
Arizona hasn't prevailed at Turner Field since an 11-1 pounding of the hosts back on May 15, 2010 and is mired in a six-game losing streak as the visitor in this series. The club lost its fourth straight away from the desert with Wednesday's 6-4 setback, and a four-run rally in the seventh inning fell short. Ryan Roberts hit a three-run homer and Chris Young, who was given some time off to work on batting issues, added a pinch-hit solo home run in the inning.
Aaron Hill and Justin Upton both had two hits for the D-backs, losers in two straight after a four-game winning streak. Hill is on an eight-game hitting streak. Miguel Montero had a hit and a run scored, and has reached base safely in 16 straight games.
The D-backs have homered in a season-best eight games in a row and sit five games behind both Los Angeles and San Francisco in the NL West standings. Trevor Cahill got the start for Arizona and allowed six runs, four of which were earned, in five innings. Cahill allowed two homers in the losing effort.
"They're putting together good at-bats and they're hitting the ball hard," Cahill said. "Even when they don't and you make a good pitch, it seems like things are kind of falling their way."
Pitching news was even worse when the Diamondbacks learned that starting pitcher Daniel Hudson tore a ligament in his right elbow and will most likely be headed for Tommy John surgery. Hudson said his elbow wasn't feeling right lately and the problem grew worse in his latest appearance. Hudson is expected to receive a second opinion, while Josh Collmenter will take over his spot in the rotation. Collmenter is slated to pitch Sunday against Milwaukee. Patrick Corbin will be Arizona's long man in the bullpen.
D-backs shortstop Stephen Drew returned to action for the first time this season last night and went 1-for-4. Drew was out since last July because of a broken right ankle suffered in a play at the plate.
"It's still a work in progress. It's just something that I'm learning to cope with and it's come along well," Drew said. "I was excited to get back. It was really good tonight."
Arizona will roll the dice Thursday with Trevor Bauer, who is slated to make his major league debut. Bauer, who will be summoned from Triple-A Reno, was the third overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and made 16 starts with both Reno and Double-A Mobile this year.
Bauer, 21, is a UCLA product and joined the team on Wednesday. He brings a bevy of pitches to the table, including multiple breaking balls, and an impressive performance Thursday could earn him another shot since Hudson and Joe Saunders are currently on the disabled list with injuries.
"I think we feel that Trevor has progressed, and it's getting time for him to find out how he does against a little better competition," Gibson said of the touted right-hander. "It has to start sometime, and we've decided this is it."
In the hunt for a sweep, Atlanta will be ready for the young hurler and has won two straight and five of seven games. It improved to 2-0 on a 10-game homestand last night, as Chipper Jones belted a two-run homer and Jason Heyward went deep. Jones scored on Cahill's throwing error during a decisive three-run fifth inning, while Michael Bourn and Martin Prado both hit sacrifice fly balls.
Atlanta is still 3 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead.
Braves starter Tommy Hanson appreciated the run support and collected his fourth straight winning decision. He tossed six shutout innings before allowing three runs in the seventh inning. Hanson was then removed after 6 1/3 innings.
"I was trying to be aggressive, get ahead of those guys," Hanson said. "They've been hot, so I didn't want to fall behind too many times, and it got me through the sixth."
Speaking of hot, Heyward extending his career-high hitting streak to 12 games and is 20-for-44 during the tear with four homers, 11 runs and seven RBI. Heyward has hit safely in 20 of the past 24 contests and owns 14 RBI and 17 runs in June.
Jair Jurrjens will make his second start for the Braves tonight since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett and pitched well in last Friday's 4-1 win at Boston. The right-hander limited the hosting Red Sox to a run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings and struck out four batters, running his 2012 mark to 1-2 in five starts and lowering his ERA from 9.37 to 6.75.
Jurrjens was demoted to the minors in late April and manager Fredi Gonzalez enjoyed the latest show.
"He really was terrific," Gonzalez said. "I guess it's a little easier to pitch in the big leagues than it is in Triple-A. "This is the JJ of last year, when he was rolling and made the All-Star team. It's a nice lift."
Jurrjens, who was 13-6 in 23 starts a year ago, owns a 2-1 mark and a 5.24 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks.
Atlanta took three of four meetings with Arizona from April 19-22 in the desert and has won nine of the past 12 matchups between the clubs.