PHOENIX (AP)—The Atlanta Braves are playing so well they can win a game on a pop foul.
“Sometimes you hit line drives at them and don’t score, and sometimes you hit popups and win,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said after his team finished its road trip 5-1.
The Braves have won seven of eight overall and 16 of their last 19 after a 4-8 start.
“It was an interesting play,” Atlanta’s John Smoltz said. “Clipping on Spivey, but this is the type of baseball we’ve been playing. We probably should have won yesterday and we probably shouldn’t have won today’s game, so they even out. But it was a great road trip nonetheless.”
Bragg said he knew he was going to try to tag as soon as Furcal hit the ball.
“It’s a tough play for the first baseman, going back like that, so I figured with one out you’ve got to give it a shot,” Bragg said.
Grace blamed himself, even though a good throw probably wouldn’t have gotten the lead runner. He downplayed the impact the collision had on the play.
“That’s not an excuse,” Grace said. “I’ve got to catch that ball, come up and put it on the button, and I didn’t. I’ll take full responsibility.”
Marcus Giles added an RBI single to make it 7-4. Smoltz, who blew his first save in 28 appearances Friday night, pitched the 11th for his major league-best 12th save. Trey Hodges (1-0) worked a scoreless 10th for the victory.
Chris Capuano (0-1) threw a perfect 10th in his major league debut, but walked Bragg and Castilla to start the 11th. Henry Blanco sacrificed, and an intentional walk to Julio Franco loaded the bases to set up the unusual finish.
Arizona manager Bob Brenly thought Capuano pitched well, considering the circumstances.
“That’s a tough situation to be in,” Brenly said, “an extra-inning game against the Atlanta Braves. For a first time out, I know the results weren’t what he was hoping for but I wasn’t upset at all with the way he threw the ball.”
The story for Arizona was the same as it’s been most of the season.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win that ballgame way before he came in the game,” Brenly said, “and once again we just couldn’t cash them in.”
The Braves tied it with three runs off Diamondbacks starter Elmer Dessens in the sixth. Chipper Jones doubled, then Andruw Jones hit his eighth home run of the season, and second of the series, to make it 4-3.
Robert Fick followed with a double and scored on Blanco’s two-out double, his second RBI of the game.
Cox was ejected by plate umpire Tony Randazzo after a half-inning. It was the third time the Braves’ skipper has been tossed this season and second on the road trip. Cox lasted slightly longer than Brenly did Saturday night. He was ejected after three batters and no outs in the top of the first.
A fielding error by Furcal at shortstop led to two unearned Arizona runs in the first.
Walks to Andruw Jones and Castilla followed by Blanco’s two-out RBI single cut the lead to 2-1 in the second.
Spivey, who started the season 3-for-45, homered for the third time in three games.
Capuano and Scott Service, who pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings, arrived an hour before the game from Edmonton after being called up from Triple-A Tucson. Capuano’s appearance came exactly one year after he injured his pitching elbow and had to undergo “Tommy John” surgery.
They were summoned because Arizona placed pitchers Byung Hyun-Kim andStephen Randolph on the 15-day disabled list.
Atlanta has won nine of 10 on the road. … Andruw Jones leads the NL with 31 RBIs. … Gary Sheffield missed the entire three-game series to attend the funeral of his wife’s grandmother in Chicago. … The Diamondbacks’ Steve Finley hit his 100th career triple with one out in the eighth but did notscore.