Starter Aaron Harang was far from dominant and Andrelton Simmons made a rare pair of ugly errors at shortstop, but the Braves produced 10 runs on 14 hits Saturday to beat the Diamondbacks. It was the ninth win in a row for Atlanta — currently the top dog in the National League East by 1 1/2 games.
Simmons made up for his defensive miscues by tallying four RBI and left fielder Justin Upton slugged a two-run homer. Even center fielder B.J. Upton got in on the act, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Braves will be looking for their 10th consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon and a three-game sweep of the visiting Diamondbacks. Alex Wood is on the bump.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …
Orioles 2, Red Sox 3 (Game 1)
Mariners 3, White Sox 2 (14 innings)
Yankees 1, Twins 2 (11 innings)
Marlins 6, Cardinals 5
Cubs 0, Nationals 13
Phillies 2, Pirates 3
Rays 7, Tigers 2
Diamondbacks 4, Braves 10
Brewers 1, Reds 0
Dodgers 7, Rockies 8
Royals 3, Indians 7
Rangers 5, Mets 3
Giants 5, Padres 3 (10 innings)
Orioles 7, Red Sox 4 (Game 2)
Astros 5, Angels 11
Blue Jays 1, Athletics 5
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.