Atlanta (54-62) at Arizona (59-57)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Sat Aug 9, 2008
  • TV: FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Chipper Jones may have returned too late to help Atlanta’s playoff chances, but he and the Braves aren’t making the Arizona Diamondbacks’ any easier.

Atlanta looks to win its fourth straight over the NL West-leading Diamondbacks when the teams continue a four-game series on Saturday night.

Jones, who leads the majors with a .371 batting average and .468 on-base percentage, came off the 15-day disabled list Friday and hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning of Atlanta’s 11-6 win.

“I was feeling very rusty early if you saw the first couple of swings,” said Jones, who missed 14 games with a strained left hamstring. “That’s to be expected after going 15 days and not seeing a pitch. But it came back quickly.”

While Jones’ return provides the Braves (54-62) with some offensive help, they are still fourth in the NL East, 8 1/2 games behind Philadelphia.

Atlanta has won four of six meetings this season against Arizona (59-57). The Braves opened this series with a 6-4 win on Thursday, and handed the Diamondbacks their third straight loss Friday, cutting Arizona’s lead in the NL West to a half-game over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Usually if we get four or five runs we typically win,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin. “That hasn’t happened the last couple of nights.”

Diamondbacks starters are 2-4 with a 5.67 ERA in their last six games. After Doug Davis was tagged for seven runs in 4 1-3 innings Friday, Arizona will give the ball to red-hot Dan Haren (12-5, 2.75 ERA), who owns the third-lowest ERA in the NL.

Haren has won his last four starts, and has a 1.83 ERA over his last nine outings. He pitched six innings Monday against Pittsburgh, allowing four runs and eight hits in a 13-7 win. The four runs were the most he’s surrendered since giving up five to San Francisco on May 27.

“I really didn’t have much to start,” said Haren, who allowed three first-inning runs. “All in all it was kind of ugly in the first inning. I’m human. I can’t go out there and put up zeros inning after inning.”

With the win, Haren improved to 9-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 home starts this season. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Braves, but hasn’t faced them since 2005 with Oakland.

Chipper Jones is 1-for-2 against Haren with a home run.

The Diamondbacks haven’t lost four straight since dropping five in a row May 26-30.

Jair Jurrjens (10-7, 3.12) takes the mound for the Braves, looking to avoid his third straight loss. The right-hander pitched six innings Monday against San Francisco, allowing four runs - three earned - and nine hits in a 4-2 loss.

Jurrjens gave up three runs and eight hits over 4 2-3 innings in Atlanta’s 7-3 win in his only start against Arizona on May 26.

The Braves can match a season-high three-game road winning streak with a victory Saturday. They have the fourth-worst road record in the NL (21-37).

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Starting Pitchers

J. Jurrjens Col vs. D. Haren Mia
13-10 Record 16-8
3.68 ERA 3.33
139 K 206
70 BB 40
1.37 WHIP 1.13


Saturday, Aug 9