ATLANTA -- Zack Greinke tossed six quality innings as the D-backs snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Braves, 7-2, on Friday night at Turner Field in the first game of a three-game series.
The D-backs gave Greinke (3-2) some early run support thanks to an RBI single by Nick Ahmed in the second and they capitalized on an error by Braves third baseman Reid Brignac to score a pair of runs in the third. David Peralta had an RBI single in that third inning, and Brandon Drury added his sixth home run of the season in the sixth.
"We didn't help ourselves with catching the baseball," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "You have to catch the ball behind [Blair]. The veteran guys can cover it up, the Greinkes can cover it up a little bit and he did today but some of the younger guys you can't. You can't extend innings."
The Braves finally managed to break through against Greinke in the sixth when Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers each had RBI singles. It was not enough to spare Aaron Blair (0-2) from the loss. Blair was facing the team that drafted him and dealt him to Atlanta this past winter. After the game, the Braves optioned Garcia to Triple-A Gwinnett and activated Ender Inciarte off the disabled list.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ace in the hole: The D-backs stumbled into Atlanta on a six-game slide and were in desperate need of a victory against the team with the worst record in baseball. Greinke did what aces are supposed to do -- deliver a quality outing to help stop a bad streak. That's the pitcher the D-backs were expecting when they signed Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million deal last December.
"That was a bad streak," Greinke said. "Wish that didn't happen. Hopefully we'll start playing some good baseball now." More >
Aaron-autics: Blair wasn't sharp with four walks in his five innings, but he again competed and gave the Braves a chance to rally. Blair, who has now pitched at least five innings in each of his first three Major League starts, allowed three runs (two earned), and threw 92 pitches, including 54 strikes -- both career highs. More >
Drury stays hot: Drury keeps hitting and the D-backs continue to find ways to get him in the lineup. Drury's home run to lead off the sixth was his sixth in his last 17 games. Drury is hitting .343 over that stretch.
Hit and Miss: The Braves had their ninth game this season with at least 10 hits, but also their 13th double-digit-strikeout game. It was the second straight 10-plus strikeout game for Atlanta and its sixth in the last 10 games. The Braves had seven such games over their first 18. Friday was the fifth time the Braves had at least 10 hits and at least 10 strikeouts. All of them have been at Turner Field and they are now 0-5 in those games.
"Tonight the guys had some fun, scored some runs and Zack went out there and gave us the start we needed," D-backs manager Chip Hale, on his team snapping a six-game losing streak
ONE 'AMAZING' PLAY
In the seventh inning, Castillo and Ahmed teamed up to get Erick Aybar trying to advance to second base in unique fashion. With the Braves' Mallex Smith at the plate and Aybar at first, Tyler Clippard threw a pitch in the dirt that was blocked by Castillo. Aybar attempted to advance to second, but Castillo got up, and with Smith standing in the left-handed batter's box, Castillo had to throw sidearm around Smith.
"That was amazing," Greinke said. "You have to see it to believe it pretty much." More >
Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected by home-plate umpire Cory Blaser for arguing balls and strikes after taking a called third strike to end the fourth inning. Tyler Flowers replaced Pierzynski, and had a sixth-inning RBI single that snapped an 0-for-13 skid.
"I still haven't seen the pitch with A.J., whether it was a ball or strike, but I was upset with the situation just because with the catchers you get a little more leeway," said Gonzalez. "I was actually between A.J. and the umpire. That's what I was upset about. You have to give me a chance. You can throw me out of the game. Now we have to catch the next four innings with only one catcher on the bench. That was tough catching one guy for the next four or five innings."
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Shelby Miller returns to the place he pitched in 2015, when the D-backs take on the Braves at 4:10 p.m. MST on Saturday at Turner Field. Miller is still looking for his first win in an Arizona uniform.
Braves: The Braves throw their ace, Julio Teheran, against the D-backs at 7:10 p.m. ET. While Teheran is winless on the season, he's pitched seven innings in back-to-back starts, allowing only one run and eight hits in those two starts, and is 3-1 with a 2.17 lifetime ERA against the D-Backs.