Diamondbacks 13, Braves 0
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PHOENIX (AP)—No pitcher in baseball is off to a better start than Brandon Webb, and he was at his best Saturday night.
“I felt good,” he said. “That’s probably the best fastball I’ve had all season. I was able to locate it pretty well. They were super-aggressive, which helped me.”
Webb (7-0) struck out a season-high eight and walked one in the second shutout and fourth complete game of his career. He joined Randy Johnson (2000) as the only Arizona pitchers to win their first seven decisions.
“That’s not a bad lineup to go through like that pretty easy,” said catcher Johnny Estrada, who was happy to help the Diamondbacks beat his former team for the second night in a row.
“I’ve got friendships over there that will go on for a while,” he said, “but they shipped me out of town, so it’s nice to repay them by beating them.”
Webb threw 101 pitches, 70 strikes. He even drove in a career-high three runs with a bases-loaded double off former teammate Oscar Villarreal in the Diamondbacks’ six-run seventh inning.
The only hits the right-handed sinkerball specialist allowed were two singles by Chipper Jones, and singles by Adam LaRoche and Todd Pratt. He gave up just one flyout. He lured the Braves into 18 groundouts.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “I kept looking at my card inning after inning and said `I don’t see any flyouts.’ That’s probably as easy a game as you have as a manager.”
Eric Byrnes drove in three runs with a home run, double and single, and scored twice in the Diamondbacks’ fifth victory in six games. Byrnes and Chad Tracy hit consecutive homers off Villarreal in the eighth.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, the National League’s leading hitter, left the game with a sprained left ankle after a play at the plate in the fourth inning.
The injury occurred when Byrnes ran into McCann at the plate, scoring the game’s first run on Tracy’s double. McCann was blocking the plate and dropped the ball after he was hit.
He had to be helped from the field.
“When it first happened, I thought I was done for the year. That’s the first thing that hit my mind,” he said. “I heard a pop and it went numb and I thought I was done. Luckily, it wasn’t something that’s going to keep me out for too long.”
Tracy scored on Luis Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Byrnes said he had no choice but to crash into McCann, who was blocking the plate. The Diamondbacks’ player was relieved to hear the injury didn’t appear to be serious.
“That’s the best news I’ve heard all night,” Byrnes said.
The Diamondbacks scored two more and chased starter Travis Smith (0-1) in the fifth. Johnny Estrada and Orlando Hudson singled, then advanced on Webb’s sacrifice bunt. Craig Counsell singled in Estrada and Hudson scored on Byrnes’ bloop single to center to make it 4-0.
The Braves stranded Pratt at third with one out in the fourth. He singled, went to second on a groundout and third on a wild pitch. But Webb got groundouts from LaRoche and Ryan Langerhans to end the threat.
The Arizona uprising in the seventh included two hit batters, one with the bases loaded, by Lance Cormier. He walked Shawn Green intentionally to load the bases, then hit Estrada to bring in a run. Hudson followed with an RBI single, then Villarreal relieved Cormier and gave up the double off the center-field wall to Webb.
Smith, called up from Triple-A Richmond, allowed four runs, two earned, and five hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out one.
The Diamondbacks have scored 23 runs and rapped out 30 hits in the first two games of their three-game series against Atlanta.
“We were trying to keep the score as low as we could,” Atlanta manager
To make room for Smith on the roster, the Braves optioned RHP Peter Moylan to Richmond. … Arizona’s second-largest home crowd of the season, 35,382, showed up for Johnny Estrada bobblehead night. Only the home opener (37,355) was bigger. … The Diamondbacks tied a club record by converting a double play for the 11th consecutive game. Arizona leads the majors with 61 double plays.