Contreras and Anderson power Braves to 6-2 win over Arizona

ATLANTA (AP) — William Contreras homered twice, Ian Anderson gave up 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 in a row and moved the defending World Series Braves champion to 38-14 since June 1, the best major league record in that span. Atlanta was three games behind the New York Mets in Newfoundland East.

Contreras, the Braves’ No. 2 receiver, thought Anderson’s performance was stellar. The two know each other well from spending time in the Braves’ farming system, and Contreras was thrilled to see Anderson make all of his pitches work.

“We have a good connection between the two of us,” Contreras said through a translator. “He had everything he needed tonight – fastball, change, curve. I’m really happy for him. He had a great game and I’m happy to see him have that kind of performance there.

The Braves improved to 17-8 this month to secure consecutive months with single-digit losses for the first time since the 2004 team won the division with 96 wins. They are 35-21 at home.

Matt Olson, who has gone deep nine times in his last 18 games, went 1-0 in the first with his 21st homer, a 415-foot shot to left center. Olson tied his career-best 25th RBI for a month from September 2021.

Eddie Rosario started the second with a walk and crossed the plate when Contreras connected with a shot from 427 feet to center field. Contreras homered to the right in the fourth to close the lead at 4-0. It was the All-Star’s third career multihomer game and first since May 21 in Miami.

Contreras enjoys the role he’s carved out with the Braves, supporting Travis d’Arnaud and occasionally serving as the designated hitter.

“I’m just going to keep enjoying the opportunity to play,” Contreras said. “If they put me in the lineup, that’s all I want. I will play any position they ask me to play. Obviously I like catching and that’s something I look forward to and prefer, but they could put me in any position and I’d be happy.

Corbin Martin (0-1) gave up all three home runs and allowed 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 just didn’t execute,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Those are things that we have to train and get into him a bit and put him in the right places. It’s a learning process for young pitchers, and I know there’s more to it for him, so he’s showing glimpses of the good stuff. It just lacks consistency.

Atlanta scored twice to make it 6-0 in the sixth on Rosario’s RBI triple and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single.

Anderson (9-6), trying to dispel speculation that he might lose his spot in the rotation, struck out the first 14 batters he faced and finished with one walk and nine strikeouts. He had a 6.25 ERA with a batting average of .303 opponents in his previous 12 starts.

Anderson said he didn’t feel any additional pressure before he left.

“I think that’s why I went in there with a no matter what mentality,” he said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure this goes in my favour, but with the support I’ve had – everyone has wanted to help me tremendously, and I just want to help the team to win games at this stage. We are in a good position.”

Anderson allowed his first hit when Jake McCarthy doubled with two out in the fifth. McCarthy stole the third and Anderson walked Buddy Kennedy before Geraldo Perdomo struck to end the threat. Anderson lowered his ERA to 4.99.

The Diamondbacks fell to 45-55. They started the day 22 games out of first place in the NL West. Arizona scored twice against AJ Minter in the ninth on Daulton Varsho’s RBI single and Jake McCarthy’s RBI single.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves closest Kenley Jansen left Friday’s win with a sore back, and manager Brian Snitker said he won’t be available outside the bullpen. Snitker hopes Jansen can return on Sunday.

NEGOTIATED

With OF-DH David Peralta dealt out to Tampa Bay before the game, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo inserted Buddy Kennedy at 2B and used Ketel Marte at DH. Peralta, 34, played the third-most games in Arizona history and spent his entire nine-year career with Arizona. He won a Silver Slugger Award in 2018 and a Gold Glove in 2019. The Rays traded 19-year-old minor league receiver Christian Cerda to the Diamondbacks.

“Sad news for me, but I’m thrilled to be joining a team that I can help make the playoffs,” Peralta said. “I never thought this day was going to come, but it is coming. I was ready for anything to happen.

HONORED

Joe Torre, Leo Mazzone and the late Joe Adcock were inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame as the team held its alumni weekend. A ceremony on the pitch took place before the match.

Torre, 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 majors as a catcher and first baseman with the Braves, hitting .294 with 142 homers and 552 RBIs and making five All-Star appearances with Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Mazzone was the pitching coach at Atlanta from 1990 to 2005, during which time the Braves won 14 straight division titles. National Baseball Hall of Fame pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz had their best seasons under Mazzone.

Adcock, who never played in Atlanta, hit .285 with 239 home runs and 760 RBIs in 10 seasons with Milwaukee.

NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (10-3, 2.73 ERA) and Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (10-5, 3.04) square off as the teams wrap up a three-game series. Fried, an All-Star, is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA in five starts this month. Kelly is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts this month.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About Marc Womack

Check Also

Phoenix Suns Trail Only Milwaukee Bucks in ESPN Power Rankings

The Phoenix Suns are off to a good start and everyone seems to be doing …