ATLANTA (AP) — William Contreras homed twice, Ian Anderson allowed a hit in six scoreless innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 on Saturday night.
The win was Atlanta’s second straight and extended the defending World Series champion Braves to 38–14 from June 1, the best record in the major leagues in that period. Atlanta finished three games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.
Contreras, the Braves’ No. 2 catcher, thought Anderson’s performance was brilliant. The two get to know each other well from spending time in the Braves’ farm system, and Contreras was pleased to see Anderson working all of his pitches.
“We have a good relationship,” Contreras said through a translator. “He had everything going on tonight – fastball, change, curves. I’m really happy for him. His game was tremendous, and I’m glad to see he performs like that out there.”
The Braves improved to 17-8 this month to guarantee months in a row with a single-digit loss for the first time since the 2004 team won the division with 96 victories. They are 35-21 at home.
Matt Olsson, who has gone deep nine times in his last 18 games, scored a 1-0 first with his 21st homer, a 415-foot shot to the left center. Olsson equaled his career-best 25th RBI for a month from September 2021.
Eddie Rosario started second with a walk and crossed the plate when Contreras connected to center field with a 427-foot shot. Contreras took the lead from the right in fourth place to take a 4-0 lead. It marked the All-Star’s third career multihomer game and his first in Miami since May 21.
Contreras loves the role he has carved out with the Braves, supporting Travis d’Arnaud and occasionally serving as a designated hitter.
“I will continue to take advantage of the opportunity to play,” Contreras said. “If they put me in the lineup, that’s all I need. I’ll play any position they ask me to play. Obviously, I like to hold and that’s something I look forward to and sure do.” I like it, but they can put me in any position and I’ll be happy.”
Corbin Martin (0-1) missed three homers and conceded six hits and four runs in four innings.
“I felt like he was primed and ready to show us what he could do, but he didn’t execute it,” said Arizona manager Tori Lovullo. “Those are things we have to train and understand him a little bit and put him in the right place. It’s a learning process for the young pitcher, and I know there is a lot more to him, so he can do good things. He just lacks consistency.”
Atlanta scored twice to take a 6-0 lead in Rosario’s RBI triple and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in sixth.
Anderson (9-6), trying to quell speculation that he was in danger of losing his place in the rotation, faced 14 first batsmen and finished with one walk and nine strikes. He had a 6.25 ERA in his last 12 starts with a batting average of .303 opponents.
Anderson said he didn’t feel any extra pressure in his debut.
“I think that’s why whatever happens I went into it with that mindset,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure of it, but with the support I’ve got — everyone wants to help me a ton, and I want to help the team win the game at this point.” . . we are in a good place.”
Anderson dropped his first hit when Jake McCarthy doubled in the fifth with two outs. McCarthy went third and Anderson drove Buddy Kennedy before Geraldo Perdomo hit to end the threat. Anderson reduced his ERA to 4.99.
The Diamondbacks dropped to 45-55. He started the game on day 22 from first place in the NL West. Arizona scored twice in the ninth off AJ Minter on Dalton Varshaw’s RBI single and Jake McCarthy’s RBI single.
The Braves, close to Kenley Jensen, left Friday’s win with a pain, and manager Brian Snitker said he would not be out of the bullpen. Snitkar hopes Jensen will be able to return on Sunday.
David Peralta tackled Tampa Bay before the game with OF-DH, Diamondbacks manager Tori Lovulo putting Buddy Kennedy in 2B and using Kettle Marte in DH. Peralta, 34, played the third most games in Arizona history and spent his entire nine-year career with Arizona. He won the Silver Slugger Award in 2018 and the Gold Glove in 2019. The Rays sent 19-year-old minor league catcher Christian Cerda to the Diamondbacks.
“Sad news for me, but I’m excited to be on a team that I can help get into the postseason,” Peralta said. “I never thought this day was going to come, but it happens. I was ready for something to happen.”
Joe Torrey, Leo Mazzone and the late Joe Adcock were inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame as the team hosted its alumni weekend. A ceremony was organized on the ground before the game.
Torrey, a National Baseball Hall of Fame manager with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers, went 257-229 from 1982–84 as Atlanta manager. He spent nine of his 18 major league runs as a catcher and first baseman with the Braves, hitting .294 with 142 homers and 552 RBIs, and going to the All-Star Game five times with Milwaukee and Atlanta.
Mazzon was the pitching coach at Atlanta from 1990–2005, during which the Braves won 14 consecutive division titles. National Baseball Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavin, and John Smoltz enjoyed their best seasons under Mazon.
Adcock, who never played in Atlanta, hit .285 with 239 homers and 760 RBIs in 10 seasons with Milwaukee.
The three-match series ended in a face-off between the teams Atlanta LHP Max Fried (10-3, 2.73 ERA) and Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (10-5, 3.04). Fried, an All-Star, is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA earlier this month. Kelly is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five earlier this month.
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