Sports

Gerardo Parra's Grand Slam Keeps the Arizona Diamondbacks From Getting Swept By the Atlanta Braves Over the Weekend

Thank heavens for Gerardo Parra. The left fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks single-handedly saved his squad from utter humiliation yesterday by unleashing a grand slam during the final game of their four-game series against the Atlanta Braves at Chase Field.

His 419-foot homer during the second inning of Sunday's game cleared the bases, gave the D-Backs an insurmountable lead, and fueled a 6-4 win that kept Arizona from getting swept by the Braves.

Parra was equally pimp in the bottom of the seventh when he contributed a clutch single, stole second base, and came home to provide an insurance run after Aaron Hill whacked one to deep left.

If only he could've salvaged the rest of the weekend for the Diamondbacks, who lost three straight against Atlanta prior to Sunday.

The Braves kicked off the series on Thursday with a 10-2 thumping of the D-Backs. Although Josh Collmenter was able to fend off Atlanta's hitters during his five innings of pitching, the visitors opened things up in the late innings by amassing a total of eight runs.

Things were just as dire for the D-Backs on Friday when the Braves won 9-1 after raining down hits and homers throughout Chase Field, including a 372-foot dinger by Brian McCann. Arizona's Trevor Cahill earned seven runs and only struck out two during 5 2/3 innings of work. Aaron Hill scored the lone run for the Diamondbacks.

And Saturday's 3-2 loss featured plenty of frustration for the D-Backs as Atlanta pitcher Tommy Hanson shut down the Arizona offense from the third inning onward as he struck out seven. Snakes starter Joe Saunders was equally fierce from the mound during the middle innings, but only after he walked in a run in the first, allowed an RBI single by Martin Prado in the second, and Dan Uggla homer in the third.

Arizona is now 8-8 following the carnage of this past weekend and are now in third place in the National League West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies. They start a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Chase Field when Kyle Kendrick faces Arizona's Wade Miley. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For more info, visit www.dbacks.com.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.