Arizona (33-22) at Atlanta (28-28)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Jun 4, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Arizona Diamondbacks seek their first four-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves when they conclude their series at Turner Field on Sunday.

Arizona (33-22) is 13-5 in its last 18 games and improved to 6-3 on its 10-game road trip with a doubleheader sweep Saturday, winning 4-2 in the first game and 13-9 in the nightcap.

Damion Easley hit three homers and drove in seven runs in the second game and Eric Byrnes also homered and drove in three.

“Everything was clicking,” said Easley, who entered the game with just two homers in 70 at-bats. “The timing was good. I had pitches I could handle and I didn’t miss them.”

Atlanta (28-28), which dropped to 1-5 on its 10-game homestand, rallied for seven runs in the seventh inning to cut into a 10-2 deficit before Easley hit a three-run shot off Kenny Ray in the ninth.

“He was something, wasn’t he?” asked Arizona manager Bob Melvin. “Every one of them, it puts us over the top, and (the Braves) keep on battling back.”

Wilson Betemit and Marcus Giles homered for the Braves.

The opener was more of a pitchers’ duel as Enrique Gonzalez gave up two runs and struck out eight in six innings to beat John Smoltz for his first career win.

The 23-year-old right-hander was backed by Orlando Hudson’s solo homer in the second and three hits by Chad Tracy, who hit a solo shot in the sixth to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead.

Smoltz allowed four runs and struck out 10 in seven innings.

Gonzalez was optioned to the minors after the game so Melvin could add 43-year-old left-hander Terry Mulholland to the active roster.

Mulholland came on in relief in the second game and allowed Giles’ two-run homer.

Miguel Batista (5-2, 4.12 ERA) starts Sunday for Arizona coming off his first complete game since June 9, 2004. Batista allowed two runs—one earned— and nine hits while striking out three in a 7-2 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.

The right-hander went 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA in May and has won back-to-back starts for the first time since July 1-6, 2004.

Batista is 3-4 with a 5.85 ERA in 15 career games against the Braves, who start Jorge Sosa in the finale.

Sosa (1-6, 4.78) has just one win in nine starts, but has shown flashes of the pitcher who went 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA a year ago. He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last three outings.

Sosa is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in three career appearances versus the Diamondbacks.

Chipper Jones is 7-for-17 (.412) with eight walks off Batista in his career while Andruw Jones is 7-for-20 (.350) with two doubles and two homers.

Although Arizona has never swept a four-game series with the Braves, the Diamondbacks did sweep a three-game set at Atlanta during their World Series championship season of 2001.

The Braves have not dropped four games in a row at Turner Field since April 27-May 8, 2002 against Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The last team to sweep a four-game series at Atlanta was Philadelphia from May 5-8, 1995.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Batista Col vs. J. Sosa Mia
11-8 Record 3-11
4.58 ERA 5.42
110 K 75
84 BB 40
1.53 WHIP 1.51