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D-backs, Braves meet in clash of first-place clubs


The Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks will meet for the first time this season on Friday at Phoenix with each team atop its division

Atlanta sits in first place in the National League East, while Arizona is tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West.

The Diamondbacks enter with a five-game winning streak, the longest active run in the majors. Arizona is coming off a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in Phoenix that was culminated by rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll’s walk-off, two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 win Thursday

“That’s our first sweep of the year,” Carroll said. “We’ve come really close. It feels good to finally get one. I can’t say enough about this team. I feel like we always fight no matter if we are down or up. We stay consistent.”

Carroll is a National League Rookie of the Year candidate, batting .287 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, 16 stolen bases and 24 RBIs in 54 games.

Atlanta avoided getting swept in its three-game road series against the Oakland Athletics by posting a 4-2 win in the finale on Wednesday.

The Athletics, who were trying for their first three-game winning streak of the season, have the worst record in the major leagues (12-46).

Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a three-run fifth inning.

The victory came at the end of a stretch for the Braves in which they played 19 games in 20 days before getting a travel day on Thursday. They finished with an 8-11 mark in that stretch

“These guys deserve this off day,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “This is a rough go here with all the teams we played. Coming out here, I’m not making excuses, but that did probably punch us in the gut a little bit.

Albies has 11 home runs in 56 games this season. He managed just eight in 64 games during an injury-plagued 2022 season following an All-Star campaign in 2021, when he belted a career-high 30 homers.

“It feels great to get a win,” Albies said. “Happy flight, happy off day.”

Atlanta went 15-14 in May after posting an 18-9 record in April.

The Braves start June against winning teams Arizona and the New York Mets but then they play 16 straight games against teams that currently have losing records: the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Rockies, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds

Atlanta will start right-hander Charlie Morton (5-5, 3.59 ERA) against Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (6-3, 2.83) on Friday.

Morton has made 12 career starts against the Diamondbacks, going 5-1 with a 4.01 ERA. He has allowed 61 hits and 29 walks while striking out 69 in 67 1/3 innings during those games

Kelly is shooting for his first career win vs. Atlanta. He is 0-2 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against the Braves, having yielded 18 hits while fanning 20 in 20 innings

Arizona second baseman Ketel Marte, who went 2-for-4 with two runs, two doubles and an RBI in the Thursday win over Colorado, has the longest on-base streak in the majors at 30 games.

Marte also has an 11-game hitting streak in which he is batting .313 (15-for-48) with three home runs and six RBIs.

–Field Level Media

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