Braves 11, Diamondbacks 4
PHOENIX (AP)—Eddie Perez waited all season for his first home run. Once he connected, it didn’t take him long to hit another.
The last player on Atlanta’s roster to hit a home run this season, Perez raised his batting average 32 points to .210.
“I’ve hit the ball hard and had some good at-bats,” said Perez, a backup catcher who has started just 26 games. “It’s hard when you don’t play every day because you can’t go get them the next day.”
Russ Ortiz got his 13th win and Chipper Jones homered and drove in four runs for the streaking Braves, who have won 10 of 11 and 14 of 16. Atlanta, which is 31-9 since losing a season-high three straight games in late June, remained 5 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East.
“We had a great trip,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
The Diamondbacks have lost four straight and 41 of 50.
“When you fall behind in the score against a guy like him you know you’re going to be in trouble,” Arizona manager Al Pedrique said.
Ortiz (13-6) threw five shutout innings before running into trouble in the sixth. He got the first two outs before walking Chad Tracy. Ortiz then allowed consecutive singles to Carlos Baerga, Alex Cintron, Luis Terrero and Koyie Hill to cut the lead to 10-3.
“I was upset I couldn’t finish the inning after getting the two outs,” Ortiz said. “I know I walked five guys but it doesn’t bother me. Everything felt good.”
Ortiz struck out three and gave up seven hits, becoming the second NL pitcher with 13 wins. San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt has won 14 games.
“What was perplexing to me is for people to see the arms we have here and write us off,” Ortiz said. “We always felt we all could keep stepping up and stepping up. Everybody is hitting a good stride and it carries over to the next guy.”
Jones’ first-inning homer into the right-center field pool area off Casey Fossum (2-11) staked the Braves to a 2-0 lead. Perez hit his two-run shot in the second to extend Atlanta’s lead to 4-0.
Julio Franco made it 5-0 with a sacrifice fly in the third before Atlanta broke the game open with five runs in the fourth.
Fossum walked Mark DeRosa, Perez singled and Ortiz advanced the runners with a sacrifice. Rafael Furcal and Marcus Giles hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 7-0 and chase Fossum. Eli Marrero doubled against reliever Stephen Randolph, and Jones lined a two-run single to center for a 10-0 lead.
Perez homered again in the ninth to make it 11-3.
“He turned it all loose today,” Cox said.
Fossum lasted a season-low 3 1-3 innings, allowing nine runs and eight hits. He is winless in seven starts since July 1 and has lost seven of his last eight decisions.
“I didn’t have anything today,” Fossum said. “I didn’t have any life on my fastball. I fell into some fastball counts and I paid for it. I’m not worried. I’ve gone through a lot.”
Hill went 4-for-4 for Arizona. … Jones also was stellar defensively, leaning against a railing and into the Arizona dugout to catch a second-inning popup by Tracy. … The Diamondbacks optioned LHP Randy Choate to Triple-A Tucson and recalled LHP Shane Nance. Choate was 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 61 games for Arizona.