Arizona (54-64) at Atlanta (61-56)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 17, 2009
  • TV: FSAZ, FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves’ quest to become a major factor in the NL East race lost some momentum over the weekend with a series loss to the division leaders.

The Braves will try to get back on track Monday when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a makeup of a game originally scheduled for May 17.

Atlanta (61-56) had averaged 6.6 runs while winning five straight to boost its confidence entering its three-game home series against first-place Philadelphia, but totaled a mere seven runs and batted .204 while dropping two of three to the Phillies.

The Braves fell six games out of the division lead with a 4-1 defeat Sunday night. Matt Diaz(notes) went 2 for 4 with a home run, but the rest of the lineup combined to go 2 for 25 (.080) as Atlanta also fell 3 1/2 games behind front-running Colorado in the wild-card race.

Also playing at home, the Diamondbacks (54-64) fared better in their weekend series against the leader of their own division. They won their first two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers before falling 9-3 in the finale.

Arizona managed five hits while striking out 11 times Sunday, but manager A.J. Hinch wasn’t discouraged after his club finished a 4-2 homestand before embarking on a 10-game, four-city road trip.

“We got beat up today, so be it,” Hinch told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “We’ve shown some resiliency, we’ll come back on the road. This is going to be a good test for us. We’re going to have to play well and play consistent baseball to continue this momentum that we’ve gained.”

Arizona could have a hard time bouncing back against Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson(notes) (7-2, 3.05 ERA), who will take the mound in the opener.

The 22-year-old rookie right-hander has posted a 2.13 ERA in winning back-to-back starts after suffering the first two losses of his career in his previous two outings.

Hanson limited Washington to one run while striking out nine in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-1 home victory Tuesday.

“He looks like he’s been here for a while,” manager Bobby Cox said. “His mound presence is really good.”

Hanson has never faced the Diamondbacks, who will hand the ball to Max Scherzer(notes) (7-6, 3.94).

Scherzer, also a right-hander, held the New York Mets to two runs over 6 2-3 innings to beat them 6-2 on Tuesday. Arizona improved to 8-3 in Scherzer’s last 11 starts.

Scherzer is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four games - two starts - against Atlanta. He earned his first major league win May 16 at Turner Field with six shutout innings. That 12-0 Diamondbacks victory evened the series at one game apiece before the finale was postponed due to rain.

Chipper Jones(notes), who’s 8 for 21 (.421) with two homers and six RBIs in six games against Arizona this season, is 4 for 6 with a homer in his career against Scherzer. Yunel Escobar(notes) is 4 for 9 with three doubles and three strikeouts versus Scherzer.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Scherzer Was vs. T. Hanson CWS
9-11 Record 11-4
4.12 ERA 2.89
174 K 116
63 BB 46
1.34 WHIP 1.18

Scoreboard

Monday, Aug 17