The Atlanta Braves ' bats are springing to life and might further do so against a pitcher having trouble figuring out what's wrong.
Through June 5, the Braves topped the NL with 81 homers and were among the league leaders with 4.5 runs per game. A big offensive funk followed, failing to go deep in 10 of 17 games while averaging 2.6 runs. They went 6-11 and reached double digits in hits just three times.
That's happened in four of the past five games as Atlanta has gone 4-1, batting .307 with six homers and 14 doubles. The Braves (47-34) didn't have a double-figure scoring effort in June until rallying for seven runs in the eighth inning Saturday to beat Arizona 11-5.
"It was a good day offensively, it really was, and hopefully that can carry on for quite a while," manager Fredi Gonzalez told the team's official website.
Keying Atlanta's NL-best 23rd comeback win was Jason Heyward , who had the tying RBI double and is among many Braves shaking off a slump. He's 7 for 17 with five extra-base hits over the past four games, scoring four runs and driving in four. Heyward had been 3 for 22 in his previous six games.
Dan Uggla drove in two runs Saturday and has hit .350 in five games after a 4-for-24 funk. Freddie Freeman was 1 for 3 for the fourth straight game following a 2-for-24 stretch, hitting a two-run homer after going 10 games without an RBI.
Even B.J. Upton, batting .178, had two RBIs after going seven games without one.
"It just seems we are playing better and better baseball every day all around," Upton said. "That's kind of scary that we're just going to get better."
Cahill (3-9, 4.29 ERA) clearly needs to get better for an Arizona rotation which has gone 21 consecutive starts without winning.
The right-hander is 0-5 with a 7.34 ERA in his last seven outings as opposing batters have hit .329. He's failed to get through six innings in five starts this month.
"It's tough, because I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and work on some things, but also try not to change too much," Cahill said.
He was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-5 loss at Washington on Tuesday.
"I don't know if he's trying to change his delivery or what. He changes from pitch to pitch," catcher Miguel Montero said. "... He's a guy that doesn't need to do too much."
The only two times Cahill faced the Braves came last season and he lost both, allowing 13 runs in 10 2-3 innings.
Atlanta counters with Paul Maholm (8-6, 3.75), who is 4-2 with a 1.80 ERA in six home starts this year. The left-hander won at Milwaukee last Sunday despite a subpar outing, giving up four runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-4 victory.
Maholm was 0-3 against the Diamondbacks before winning the last matchup, throwing seven innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 victory July 13 while with the Cubs.
While Atlanta's 6 1/2-game lead atop the East is the largest in baseball, Arizona (42-38) has lost five of six to see its West lead cut to two.
"We'll have to figure things out, we'll have to switch things around," manager Kirk Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks have dropped 12 of 15 in Atlanta, where Paul Goldschmidt is batting .120 in eight career games.
|June 10, 2013||Matt Reynolds||15-Day DL||Strained left elbow|
|May 31, 2013||Brandon McCarthy||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|May 31, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 31, 2013||Eric Chavez||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 26, 2013||Ian Kennedy||Day-to-Day||Cut on right index finger|
|May 08, 2013||J.J. Putz||15-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|June 18, 2013||Evan Gattis||15-Day DL||Oblique strain|
|June 17, 2013||Ramiro Pena||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|May 29, 2013||Kris Medlen||Day-to-Day||Left game - left upper calf contusion|
|May 18, 2013||Eric O'Flaherty||15-Day DL||Left elbow surgery - out for season|
|May 13, 2013||B.J. Upton||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left shoulder contusion|
|May 12, 2013||Jordan Walden||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Freddie Freeman loved watching Jason Heyward slide hard into second base to break up a double play in the third inning.
Without Heyward's hustle and Justin Upton 's beating the throw to first base, Freeman wouldn't have had a chance to hit a three-run homer.
"It's a testament to what they do," Freeman said. "They never give up. Even it's an eight-run (lead), they're running hard."
Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann homered, powering the Atlanta Braves past the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep in a matchup of division leaders.
Paul Maholm (9-6) gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Braves, who improved to a big league-best 28-11 at home.
Trevor Cahill (3-10) allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings as the NL West-leading Diamondbacks lost for the fifth time in six games. Cahill is 0-6 with a 7.91 ERA in eight starts since a May 17 win at Miami.
"Trevor, he couldn't even find half of the plate," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He made 104 pitches in 4 1-3 innings. That's more of the same. We've got to try to get him straightened around."
Arizona has gone 22 straight games without a win from its rotation, the longest streak in the majors since San Diego went 25 in a row from April 17-May 14, 2009, according to STATS.
"This whole series, we were way behind all these guys" Gibson said. "We didn't really throw good, quality strike ones, and they pounded those. They got ahead in the counts and they did a much better job than we did. Again, they just outplayed us."
The first of Paul Goldschmidt 's two run-scoring, double-play grounders put Arizona ahead in the first, but McCann tied the score in the second with an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center.
Freeman's three-run homer made it 4-1 in the third, and Uggla added a two-run drive in the fifth, his 14th home run of the season, for a 6-1 lead.
Atlanta scored 13 runs from the eighth inning of Saturday's win through the fifth on Sunday. Uggla said the offense wanted even more.
"You can't ever pick and choose when you're going to score runs," Uggla said. "You've got to grind out at-bats. You've got to battle and have some timely hitting, so you've got to ride the wave when it comes."
Maholm labored in the seventh, giving up consecutive singles to Cody Ross and Gerardo Parra and a one-out walk to Cliff Pennington . Maholm struck out pinch-hitter Jason Kubel , and Anthony Varvaro relieved and retired A.J. Pollock on a flyout
Kubel began the game with a .417 average in 12 career at-bats against Maholm.
"He's done well against me, and it's probably my last hitter," Maholm said. "I just tried to mix it up and dropped my arm angle on two of the pitches, but it's left-on-left and I have all the confidence in getting a guy out."
NOTES: Freeman homered in consecutive games for the second time this season and first since May 30-31 against Toronto and Washington. ... Cahill had not allowed three homers since Oakland's 10-2 loss at Toronto on April 30, 2010. ... Goldschmidt, who leads the NL with 67 RBIs, went 1 for 9 and stranded four runners in the series. ... The Braves improved to 8-1-4 in home series. ... Maholm beat the Diamondbacks in his second straight start after going 0-3 in his first six career starts against them. ... Arizona RHP Tony Hill pitched a scoreless seventh and has not allowed a run in 11 straight road appearances. ... Atlanta is 34-6 when outhitting opponents. ... RHP David Carpenter pitched the last two innings for the Braves. ... LHP Tony Sipp pitched the eighth for Arizona. ... The Braves are off on Monday and begin a three-game home series against Miami on Tuesday. Arizona opens a four-game series on Monday at the New York Mets .