Arizona at Atlanta

W: C. Vargas (6-2) L: J. Thomson (2-5)
HR: ARI - E. Byrnes (10), D. Easley (3), D. Easley (4), D. Easley (5)   ATL - W. Betemit (5), M. Giles (3)

Easley homers three times, drives in seven as D-Backs sweep

CBS wire reports

ATLANTA -- Before Saturday, Damion Easley was averaging a home run per month as a utility infielder for Arizona.

Given a spot start in the second game of a doubleheader sweep against Atlanta, Easley changed that ratio, hitting three homers and driving in seven runs -- both career highs -- to lead the Diamondbacks to a 13-9 second-game victory Saturday night.

"He was something, wasn't he?" asked Arizona manager Bob Melvin, who said that each homer felt like the key hit of the game at the time. "Every one of them, it puts us over the top, and (the Braves) keep on battling back."

Easley began the second game with two home runs in 70 at-bats this season. He hit two-run homers in the fifth and seventh innings for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, who have won three straight and 13 of 18. With Arizona clinging to a 10-9 lead, Easley added a three-run drive off Kenny Ray in the ninth.

"Everything was clicking," Easley said. "The timing was good. I had pitches I could handle and I didn't miss them."

Eric Byrnes' 10th homer finished off Arizona's five-run fourth inning and made it 6-0. The Diamondbacks led 8-0 after five and held on after Atlanta scored seven runs in the seventh to pull within one.

A rainout Friday night forced the split doubleheader. In the first game, Enrique Gonzalez earned his first victory and Chad Tracy and Orlando Hudson homered in Arizona's 4-2 win.

Hudson and Craig Counsell committed errors in the seventh inning of the nightcap as Atlanta nearly made up a 10-2 deficit in one inning. Brandon Medders gave up five hits and six runs, only one earned, in the inning.

After Adam LaRoche drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double off Medders to right-center, Marcus Giles hit a two-run homer off Terry Mulholland to cut the lead to 10-9. Mulholland was recalled from Triple-A Tucson after the first game of the doubleheader.

"They know how to win," said Easley of the Braves. "They know what they're doing. They don't panic. I expected them to make a run."

Arizona closer Jose Valverde recorded the final two outs in the seventh and stranded two runners in the eighth. Jorge Julio pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

"It wasn't enough. But it was good to see the guys fight back," LaRoche said.

"We're battling. We're not giving up. We know it's going to turn around. We're just kind of waiting it out. From the outside watching I know it's probably frustrating and it doesn't look good, but it's gonna turn."

The Braves are 1-5 on their 10-game homestand, including losses in the first three games of the four-game series against the Diamondbacks.

Braves starter John Thomson (2-5) gave up 11 hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Easley's first homer increased the lead to 8-0 and knocked Thomson out of the game. The homer to left drove in Conor Jackson, who walked.

Wilson Betemit's fifth homer, a two-run shot into the Braves' bullpen in the sixth inning, ended the shutout bid by Claudio Vargas (6-2). The right-hander gave up two hits through five innings before giving up four hits in the sixth, knocking him out of the game.

Ryan Langerhans loaded the bases with an infield hit against Medders, but Jeff Francoeur's liner to center ended the sixth.

Easley added another two-run homer off Oscar Villarreal in the seventh before the Braves' seven-run outburst in the bottom half.


  • Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected for the fifth time this season when home plate umpire Dana DeMuth tossed him for arguing balls and strikes during Chipper Jones' first-inning at-bat in the first game.
  • According to the Braves, Cox has 121 career ejections to rank third on baseball's career list.
  • Counsell stayed in the second game after Edgar Renteria's grounder hit the shortstop in the face in the sixth inning.
  • Brian Jordan snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a seventh-inning single in the second game.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Easley drives his second homer of the game in the seventh inning, this one off Oscar Villarreal.  (AP)
Easley drives his second homer of the game in the seventh inning, this one off Oscar Villarreal. (AP)

Players of the Game

W. Betemit
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1

D. Easley
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 3

Related Video

February 17, 2017
NL West Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (2:12)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Craig Counsell, SS6001022
Eric Byrnes, CF5123000
Luis Gonzalez, LF5020001
Conor Jackson, 1B4220101
    Tony Clark, 1B0000000
Jeff DaVanon, RF5330013
Damion Easley, 3B-2B5347000
Orlando Hudson, 2B4231000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000
   a- Andy Green, PH1000000
    Jorge Julio, P0000000
Chris Snyder, C5121011
Claudio Vargas, P2100003
    Brandon Medders, P0000000
    Terry Mulholland, P0000000
    Chad Tracy, 3B1000100
a-fouled out for Valverde in the 9th
3B - Orlando Hudson (, Thomson)
HR - Eric Byrnes (, Thomson), Damion Easley 3 (, Thomson, Villarreal, Ray)
SH - Claudio Vargas ()
RBI - Craig Counsell (), Eric Byrnes 3 (), Damion Easley 7 (), Orlando Hudson (), Chris Snyder ()
2-OUT RBI - Eric Byrnes 3 (), Damion Easley 2 ()
SB - Jeff DaVanon (, 2nd base off Thomson/B. Pena)
Team LOB - 6
E - Craig Counsell (, Misplayed grounder), Orlando Hudson (, Misplayed grounder)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Claudio Vargas (W,-) 5.2622031
Brandon Medders 0.2561000
Terry Mulholland0111001
Jose Valverde (H,) 1.2100120
Jorge Julio 1000200
WP - Claudio Vargas ()
Pitches-Strikes - Claudio Vargas 105-70, Brandon Medders 31-23, Terry Mulholland 2-1, Jose Valverde 27-17, Jorge Julio 23-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Claudio Vargas 6-7, Brandon Medders 2-2, Jorge Julio 1-2
Batters Faced - Claudio Vargas 22, Brandon Medders 9, Terry Mulholland 1, Jose Valverde 7, Jorge Julio 5
Atlanta Braves
Pete Orr, 2B5111012
Wilson Betemit, SS4232100
Chipper Jones, 3B5111003
Andruw Jones, CF3010001
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH-1B2113000
Ryan Langerhans, LF-CF3010010
   b- Marcus Giles, PH1112000
    Mike Remlinger, P0000000
    Ken Ray, P0000000
    Tyler Yates, P0000000
   c- Todd Pratt, PH0000100
Jeff Francoeur, RF5000014
Brian Jordan, 1B-CF4110100
Brayan Pena, C5120002
John Thomson, P1000010
    Chad Paronto, P0000000
   d- Edgar Renteria, PH1110000
    Matt Diaz, LF2000012
a-doubled for Villarreal in the 7th
b-homered for Langerhans in the 7th
c-walked for Yates in the 9th
d-singled for Paronto in the 6th
2B - Adam LaRoche (, Medders)
HR - Wilson Betemit (, Vargas), Marcus Giles (, Mulholland)
RBI - Pete Orr (), Wilson Betemit 2 (), Chipper Jones (), Adam LaRoche 3 (), Marcus Giles 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Wilson Betemit 2 ()
CS - Pete Orr (, 2nd base by Vargas/Snyder)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Betemit-Orr-Jordan
Atlanta Braves
John Thomson (L,-) 4.11188112
Chad Paronto 1.2000020
Oscar Villarreal 1322001
Mike Remlinger 1100000
Ken Ray 0.2333101
Tyler Yates 0.1000010
Pitches-Strikes - John Thomson 81-50, Chad Paronto 17-10, Oscar Villarreal 15-11, Mike Remlinger 12-8, Ken Ray 27-17, Tyler Yates 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Thomson 5-6, Oscar Villarreal 1-2, Ken Ray 1-1
Batters Faced - John Thomson 24, Chad Paronto 5, Oscar Villarreal 6, Mike Remlinger 4, Ken Ray 6, Tyler Yates 1
Game Information
Attendance - 40212
Game Time - 3:41
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Dusty Dellinger