Paybacks can be a major bitch. Just ask Max Scherzer.
After getting blanked by the Arizona pitcher during an embarrassing 12-0 rout two weeks ago, the Atlanta Braves destroyed the 24-year-old with 10 hits over the first four innings of their 9-3 thumping of the Diamondbacks yesterday at Chase Field. Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson made Scherzer their personal bitch in the lopsided contest, as both sluggers landed hits in the first and blasted a couple of homers in the following innings to put the Braves up 6-0 by the time D-Backs manager A.J. Hinch yanked his starter. It was one of two losses the D-Backs suffered over the weekend because of poor performances on the mound, resulting in the team splitting the four-game series with Atlanta and dropping to 22-29 overall.
Jon Garland had his worst effort this season in Friday's game by giving up nine hits and as many runs in 2 2/3 innings. The ATL's scoring run started in the second with an Anderson double, followed by a trilogy of singles from Casey Kotchman, Jeff Francoeur, and Jordan Schafer. Dutch righty Jair Jurrjens then slammed a soaring double into left field, clearing all three base-runners to the dish. The nightmare continued in the third, as Kelly Johnson hit a bases-loaded RBI double to plate Kotchman and Schafer, right before Yunel Escobar's two-run homer. Needless to say, it was an early night for Garland.
The D-Backs showed a little moxie in the loss, however, managing to cut the deficit to 10-5 after Chad Tracy's three-run homer in the fourth and Gerardo Parra's RBI single an inning later. But the able arms of the Braves bullpen (including Peter Moylan, Eric O'Flaherty, and Rafael Soriano) snuffed out any hopes of a comeback.
Instead, the Snakes saved their come-from-behind rally for Saturday afternoon. Down 2-0 going into the seventh inning, the Arizona lineup punched out a couple of runs via back-to-back RBI shots by Ryan Roberts and Chris Young to even the score. They came damn close to punching out their opponents a few innings earlier, as a heated exchange between Braves catcher David Ross and Justin Upton in the second frame cleared both teams' benches. No punches were thrown, however, and the spat was likely keyed off over how Upton flipped his bat away after getting walked by pitcher Javier Vazquez. The tie stayed firmly in place until Eric Brynes popped a walk-off single to bring home Roberts in the bottom of the 11th.
Today, Byrnes and company hit the asphalt for a six-game road trip through Southern California to face off against divisional rivals Los Angeles and San Diego. It starts tonight at 7:10 with a stop at Chavez Ravine, where Billy Buckner (1-1, 7.16) hopes to avoid giving up too many runs to the Dodgers' league-leading offense when going against Hiroki Kuroda (1-0, 1.59), who's returning to the lineup after straining his oblique muscle early in the season.
Despite expectations that the loss of Manny Ramirez would cripple L.A., the team's amassed the best record in baseball (34-17) and has gone 14-9 since their superstar slugger was busted on May 7 for taking banned substances. The Snakes will need to get their shit together if they hope to squeeze out a win against the Dodgers in L.A. And with ace Dan Haren getting the ball on Tuesday, there's a chance that could actually happened.
Here are the full details and scheduled pitchers for the rest of the series:
Haren (4-4, 2.54) vs. Randy Wolf (3-1, 2.84), 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Jon Garland (4-4, 5.75) vs. Chad Billingsley (6-3, 2.80), 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.
TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620 (for English), KSUN-AM 1400 (para Español). For more info, visit www.dbacks.com.
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