Simmons, Harang spark Braves to 9th straight win
ATLANTA (AP) — Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons wasted no time recovering from a rare two-error inning.
“It’s a tough when your errors are a little costly, but (Aaron) Harang picked me up and kept us in the game,” Simmons said. “The other guys got on base and we ended up winning, so it’s a good day after all.”
Simmons drove in four runs, Harang won his third straight start and the Atlanta Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-4 Saturday for their season-high ninth straight victory.
Justin Upton added a two-run homer and a third RBI for the Braves, who have won 11 of 12 and are 11 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Harang (8-6) has a 3.00 ERA over his last three starts after allowing nine hits and four runs with one walk and one strikeout in eight innings.
Arizona, which has dropped eight of 12, lost its 53rd game, most in the majors.
Simmons had an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the fourth. He appeared to turn his left ankle while running the bases in the sixth but stayed in the game. He drove in his fourth run with a groundout in the seventh to make it 10-4. It marked the third time in his career and second time this season that he had four RBIs in a game.
Simmons has four straight games with at least two hits.
The Diamondbacks went ahead 3-0 in the first on Goldschmidt’s RBI double, Montero’s RBI single and Gerardo Parra’s RBI single. Parra got an at-bat after manager Kirk Gibson successfully challenged that Aaron Hill, the previous batter, was safe at first on Atlanta’s double-play attempt.
“We had a rough first inning there, but nobody panicked,” Harang said. “Our confidence is real high right now, and everybody’s feeling good about how we’re swinging the bats and playing defense. We knew guys were comfortable up there and knew that we’d stay right in it.”
Simmons, named last year’s Platinum Glove winner as the NL’s best defender, had two errors in the first. Simmons began the game with six errors this year.
“I told him that how you bounce back from those is what’s important,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He made some great plays defensively after that inning and also swung the bat. He kept the line moving.”
After Simmons cut the lead to 3-1 in the first, the Braves made it 3-2 in the third on Jason Heyward’s RBI single.
Atlanta took a 7-3 lead with a five-run fourth off Mike Bolsinger (1-5).
Tommy La Stella scored from third when B.J. Upton reached on Didi Gregorius’ throwing error. Simmons’ two-run double was followed by Freddie Freeman’s RBI triple and Upton’s sacrifice fly.
Bolsinger, who had a 2.70 ERA in his previous three starts, gave up 10 hits, seven runs — five earned — and walked two in 3 2-3 innings. He struck out five.
Ender Inciarte homered in the fifth to cut the lead to 7-4, but Upton hit 17th homer, a two-run, shot off Matt Stites to make it 9-4 in the sixth.
The Diamondbacks, plagued by injuries all season, are reeling.
“When we were at our place (last month), we played these guys really good,” Gibson said. “We’re capable of doing that.”
Notes: The last time Atlanta had a nine-game winning streak was during a 12-game streak that ended last Aug. 9. ... Goldschmidt went 1 for 4 and has reached safely in 26 straight games. He’s hitting .318 with nine doubles, four homers, 12 RBIs and 28 walks during that span. ... Heyward leaped to catch Goldschmidt’s fly ball at the top of the right-field wall in the eighth. ... Diamondbacks OF Mark Trumbo, recovering from foot injury, is 5 for 10 with two homers and six RBIs as a designated hitter during his rehab assignment. ... Before the game, Arizona acquired two minor leaguers, OF Zach Borenstein and RHP Joey Krehbiel from the Los Angeles Angels for LHP Joe Thatcher and minor-league OF Tony Campana. ... Diamondbacks LHP Eury De la Rosa, recalled from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day, gave up three hits and one run in the seventh and eighth. ... B.J. Upton has a career-best 11-game hitting streak.