With the Atlanta Braves entering on the strength of a seven-game winning streak, the July 4th holiday set up beautifully for a potentially memorable evening. Ervin Santana and some timely offense did their part as well, and when the dust settled, the Braves exited with a 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks to push their winning streak to eight games.
“Big Erv” was quite impressive for the second straight outing, as he breezed through 7.1 innings having allowed only 2 earned runs on 6 hits (and 1 walk) to go along with 6 strikeouts. In actuality, Santana was probably better than his final line indicated, as the second run that was charged to the right-hander scored when Luis Avilan couldn’t wiggle off the hook in the seventh inning. It wasn’t an utterly dominant performance by the letter of it, but Santana did more than enough to lead the red-hot Braves to another win.
Offensively, there was a great deal of balance, and that was evidenced by five members of Atlanta’s lineup ending the night with two hits. B.J. Upton got the night off to a blazing start with a lead-off single and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot in the first inning, and he was brought to the plate by the first of two hits from Freddie Freeman. After a Justin Upton double, Jason Heyward slapped an RBI groundout to second base, and for all intents and purposes, the Braves were never challenged again.
The “knockout” blow came very early in this game, also, as Atlanta put up two more runs in the bottom of the second. Andrelton Simmons brought Gerald Laird to the plate with a single, and Justin Upton engineered a run (with some help from Arizona starter Josh Collmenter) by working a bases-loaded walk for the team’s fourth run.
In addition to standout nights from the aforementioned Upton brothers, Freeman and Simmons, Tommy La Stella added two hits, and Gerald Laird put together two base knocks in his first game back in the lineup after an injury concern. All in all, it was a 12-hit night for the Braves against a pitcher who had been having a positive season, and that is quite encouraging.