Late blast gives D-backs win in Bauer's debut

Late blast gives D-backs win in Bauer's debut

Late blast gives D-backs win in Bauer's debut
ATLANTA -- The focus leading up to Thursday's game was on Trevor Bauer making his Major League debut.

But the right-hander was long gone by the time Chris Young's ninth-inning homer sailed into the bleachers to give the D-backs a 3-2 win over the Braves at Turner Field.

The win snapped Arizona's four-game losing streak on the road and allowed it to avoid a sweep in the series.

Young was in the starting lineup for the first time in three games after Arizona manager Kirk Gibson gave him some time off to try and help snap him out of a slump.

Young pinch-hit in Wednesday night's game and homered, and after going hitless in his first three at-bats Thursday, he connected on a 2-2 fastball from Braves closer Craig Kimbrel to give the D-backs the much-needed win.

"He's one of the best in the game," Young said of Kimbrel. "His fastball is electric and he had his breaking ball working good tonight. I was able to battle, battle, battle. With him, you don't know whether to sit on the breaking ball or try to sit on the heater -- just because both of them are plus pitches for him."

It was the first home run Kimbrel had allowed since Sept. 19, 2011, and it also snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak.

"He [homered] last night, and to do it again tonight to Kimbrel, who is as good as it gets, in such a big situation of the game -- it's big for our team and it's big for [Young]," Gibson said. "I know he's got that good feeling back now."

Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, was promoted from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day and was followed intently by cameras as he went through his unique and extensive long-toss routine prior to warming up.

A variety of factors led to Bauer only being able to go four innings and 74 pitches, including having thrown 50 pitches in an abbreviated Triple-A start Sunday, but the main culprit was a groin cramp that has plagued him off and on throughout the season. It flared up again in the third and wreaked havoc with his mechanics.

"Basically, my mechanics just completely change," Bauer said. "I'm very heavily dependent on my lower half. That's what the groin causes: I can't rotate my hips, so my release point is like a foot farther back, so I don't get extension. My breaking balls get flat, my fastball is up in the zone [and] everywhere else. It really effects the command and the sharpness of my pitches."

That was obvious when he walked Michael Bourn to start the third. Pitching coach Charles Nagy came out with a trainer following the ball-four pitch to check on him, but he told them he was fine.

After a double play erased Bourn, Bauer walked Martin Prado, and Brian McCann followed with a double off the right-field wall to score Prado.

Bauer then walked Chipper Jones and hit Dan Uggla with a pitch to load the bases.

"I know I walked about eight guys that inning and hit one, so it just completely changed my mechanics, and then I can't be as aggressive as I want to be because I'm just trying to locate the ball," Bauer said of his injury. "I had my good stuff for the first two innings. I was locating the ball well and my breaking stuff had good bite to it. [The] third inning came along and my control went everywhere, and it was like a tale of two pitchers."

The Braves, however, were unable to capitalize, as Freddie Freeman flew out to end the inning.

Patrick Corbin came on in relief of Bauer and tossed three scoreless innings, and the D-backs managed to tie the game on Jason Kubel's two-run double in the sixth.

Bauer is the first player from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to make the Majors, and his debut received plenty of national attention, yet he said he was unfazed by it all.

"No, nothing like that," he said when asked if he was nervous before the game. "Baseball is baseball at any level. Throw your pitches, execute and have a good game plan and you'll be fine."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.