Braves 4, Diamondbacks 2
Wright’s career got off to a great start in 1997 with Cleveland, then fizzled because of injuries and ineffectiveness. But he joined the Braves last season and has found a home in their rotation.
“Today is definitely a good day,” Wright said. “I mean, I’ve been through a lot of down times, and it does make it more enjoyable after you’ve been through the bottom of my career.”
Wright (10-5) got the silent treatment from his teammates as a joke after hitting his first career home run in his 53rd at-bat.
“I thought it was absolutely great,” he said. “As soon as I walked by Marcus (Giles) and he didn’t say anything, I just started laughing. I had to.”
Rafael Furcal also had a solo shot as the NL East leaders won for the 12th time in 14 games.
Wright improved to 8-0 in 14 starts since a May 22 loss to Los Angeles, giving up two runs, seven hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings.
Arizona had six hits in the first four innings. Wright then pitched two perfect innings before Andy Green beat out an infield single leading off the seventh.
After getting one out, Wright walked Luis Terrero and gave way to reliever Kevin Gryboski, who got Danny Bautista to hit into an inning-ending double play. Antonio Alfonseca pitched a perfect eighth, and Chris Reitsma got three outs for his first save.
“Smoltzie (closer John Smoltz) had high fever and we sent him home,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “So he wasn’t available tonight. Alfonseca came up big with his inning and, of course, Reits with his first Atlanta Braves save.”
In Arizona’s first game following the announcement that agent Jeff Moorad will replace Jerry Colangelo as chief executive officer at the end of the year, the Diamondbacks lost for the 21st time in 25 games.
“I thought the team played well,” manager Al Pedrique said. “It was a great game. We did some good things, and again we just fell short.”
Atlanta broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth when Andruw Jones walked with two outs, and LaRoche homered into the right-field seats off Brandon Webb (4-13), who allowed four runs, eight hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings.
“It was a sinker he left up,” LaRoche said. “He got me the first couple at-bats on the sinker. If he just keeps it down, there’s nothing you can do with a guy that relies on guys chasing his pitch. I was just looking for something up in the zone.”
Wright, an American Leaguer until 2003, showed power in the third, pulling the ball into the left-field seats.
“You just have to bear down and make quality pitches every time,” Webb said. “You can’t let up on anyone.”
Webb escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth when Jones popped out, LaRoche struck out and Charles Thomas grounded into a forceout.
Furcal got his second hit in the seventh, beating out an infield single when Webb got to the bag too late for Hillenbrand to get him the ball. … The Braves are 16-5 since the All-Star break. … Opponents have hit 140 homers against Arizona this season, 32 in the last 15 games.