With their offense clicking on all cylinders, the Atlanta Braves are quickly making up for their brutal start to the season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be headed in the opposite direction.
The surging Braves try for a ninth win in 10 games as they continue a four-game set with the Diamondbacks, who are hoping to avoid losing four straight at home for the first time in over a season Friday night.
Since opening with four consecutive defeats - its worst start since losing its first 10 in 1988, Atlanta (8-5) has proven nearly unbeatable. The Braves have averaged 7.2 runs while batting .298 with runners in scoring position during their 8-1 run.
One night after posting its highest run total of the season during a 14-6 win over the New York Mets , Atlanta went 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position during Thursday's 10-2 win at Arizona (7-6). Freddie Freeman continued his recent tear at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a pair of two-run homers and a career-high five RBIs.
Mike Minor , meanwhile, added to the Diamondbacks' recent struggles, allowing one earned run and striking out nine over a career-best eight innings.
Arizona, which won four straight and five of six to open its season, has since dropped five of seven - including three in a row at home. The Diamondbacks haven't lost four straight at Chase Field since Sept. 4-7, 2010.
"Baseball," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It's not fun to be a part of it, but you have to endure these times. We've been through it before, last year."
Already without injured outfielder Chris Young (right shoulder contusion), Arizona was forced to leave two-time All-Star Justin Upton (jammed left thumb) out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game. It's unknown if Upton will be able in this one.
"Every morning when I get up it's a little better, which is a positive sign," Upton, who's batting just .212 with no homers in nine starts, told the team's official website. " ... We'll see how it is (Friday)."
Looking to take advantage of the Diamondbacks' injury-stricken lineup is Brandon Beachy (1-1, 0.75 ERA), who surrendered an unearned run and three hits over seven innings of Sunday's 7-4 win over Milwaukee. The hard-throwing right-hander has made it through at least seven innings just three times in 30 career starts.
"(Pitching to contact) is going to help me get to the seventh and eighth inning, having a few quick innings," he said. "I was able to do that, and that comes from getting ahead in the count and throwing the ball over the plate."
In his only appearance against the Diamondbacks, Beachy gave up one run, four hits and stuck out seven in six innings of an 8-1 home win Aug. 20.
The Diamondbacks will send Trevor Cahill (1-0, 1.35) to the mound in hopes of getting back on track. Acquired via trade from Oakland during the offseason, Cahill has limited opponents to a .143 average over his first two outings.
The 24-year-old sinkerballer was at his best during Sunday's 5-2 win at Colorado, surrendering one run and four hits over 7 1-3 innings.
"This is a guy that if you're going to succeed against him, you definitely have to force him to raise the ball up, because if in fact you don't, there's going to be an awful lot of groundballs hit against him. That's how good his sinker is."
Cahill will need to be wary of Freeman, who's gone 7 for 13 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last three games.
PHOENIX (AP) -- Brian McCann and the Braves are rolling, while the battered Arizona Diamondbacks are sputtering.
For the second straight night, that added up to an Atlanta rout.
McCann hit a two-run homer, Freddie Freeman had a pair of RBI doubles and Atlanta beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-1 on Friday.
Brandon Beachy (2-1) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings, striking out five and walking none as the Braves won their fourth in a row and ninth in 10 games after starting the season 0-4. In those 10 games, the Braves have scored 74 runs.
"It's unbelievable," Beachy said. "They give me a one-run lead and then they build on it. The next thing you know I'm out there pitching and it's 7-0."
Trevor Cahill (1-1) gave up seven runs, four earned, and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in his Chase Field debut for the Diamondbacks. Arizona has lost four straight, all at home.
"They are playing well," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "We aren't playing so well right now, but we will be."
Atlanta has won the first two of the four-game series by a combined score of 19-3.
"Hitting's contagious," Freeman said, "and when people are getting hits, you want to go up there and knock them in. You don't want to lose those opportunities. Everybody feels good right now and everybody's taking advantage of it."
Freeman, who homered twice in Thursday night's 10-2 win, doubled in a run in the third and another in the sixth. The Braves' leader with 13 RBIs, he also singled and walked.
"I was pretty dialed in last year about July," Freeman said. "I feel about the same right now. I'm just getting the pitches to hit and I'm not missing them."
Paul Goldschmidt singled twice and walked for the Diamondbacks, scuffling offensively without injured Chris Young and Justin Upton .
Atlanta scored in the third when Martin Prado singled, then raced home from first on Freeman's double to the right-field corner.
Cahill retired the first two batters on groundouts in the fifth, but he walked Freeman on a 3-2 count, then McCann lined a 2-1 pitch over the right-field fence. McCann's third home run of the season put Atlanta up 3-0.
A fielding error by second baseman Aaron Hill on Chipper Jones ' grounder opened the way for the Braves' four-run sixth.
Jason Heyward followed with a single. After a fielder's choice put runners at first and third, Beachy put down a bunt and Jones beat Cahill's throw home. Michael Bourn 's double brought in another run, then Prado's sacrifice fly made it 6-0.
Craig Breslow relieved Cahill and gave up a double to Freeman, this one to the left-field corner, that scored the Braves' seventh run of the night.
Atlanta tacked on two runs in the ninth, including a bases-loaded walk by Arizona reliever Joe Paterson .
"There's really not much for me to say," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "other than, let's just keep it rolling. Let's play again tomorrow."
NOTES: Beachy has allowed one earned run in three starts, giving him a 0.47 ERA. ... Heyward extended his hitting streak to 10 games, matching his career high. ... Jones was back after sitting out Thursday night's series opener to have fluid drained from his surgically repaired left knee. ... Upton again was out of the Arizona lineup with a sore thumb, although he was available as a pinch-runner. ... The Diamondbacks last lost four straight at home Sept. 4-7, 2010. .... Arizona sends lefty Joe Saunders (1-0, 0.64 ERA) to the mound against Tommy Hanson (1-2, 3.71) on Saturday night.