5 takeaways after Braves take three of four in Arizona

Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) pulls pitcher Jacob Webb after Webb gave up a three-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' Carson Kelly during the seventh inning. (AP Photo)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Braves manager Brian Snitker (43) pulls pitcher Jacob Webb after Webb gave up a three-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks' Carson Kelly during the seventh inning. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX – The Braves squandered the chance to sweep the Diamondbacks, blowing a late three-run lead in a 6-4 loss Thursday. It snapped the Braves’ four-game win streak.

Here are five takeaways from Thursday:

1. Braves starter Charlie Morton faced little adversity until the seventh inning, when consecutive singles led manager Brian Snitker to make a pitching change. He summoned right-hander Jacob Webb, who hadn’t allowed a run in 14 consecutive games.

But Webb had a clunker. Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly homered on Webb’s second pitch, an 82.5 mph change-up down the middle, to tie the score at 4-4. The Diamondbacks laced consecutive doubles to take the lead and later added an insurance run.

“Today, I just didn’t have my best stuff,” Webb said. “I was hanging stuff in the zone. That’s what happens. You have to make good pitches up here. You have to bounce back and be ready to go every day. I have every confidence in the world in my ability and what I do every day. It’s just frustrating, man. Going out there, getting an opportunity and hanging stuff today.”

Webb had a rare off-day that won’t affect Snitker’s confidence in him, the manager said.

“Jacob has been through a lot,” Snitker said. “This was probably a minor thing compared to what he’s battled over his career. I have no (doubt) he’ll bounce back. It’s one game. You’re a reliever, it’s one game. You have to have a short memory if you’re a reliever because this is going to happen.”

2. Third baseman Austin Riley certainly looked MVP-worthy in the way he took over the series. Riley had six extra-base hits, including a homer in each of the final three games. In the first contest, he doubled three times.

Riley also had six two-out RBIs in the four games, topped by his two-out two-run homer off Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner in the third inning Thursday. Riley is the hottest player in the Braves’ lineup, and he’s recaptured his best form at the perfect time for his team.

3. Morton struck out eight, reaching 203 strikeouts this season. It’s his third campaign with 200 strikeouts, following 2018 (201) and 2019 (240).

“It’s pretty sweet,” Morton said. “The first time I did it was ‘18, and that was pretty cool because I was thinking I’d like to do it once in my career. Then I struck out more in ‘19. I knew I was close (this year). The only thing about that would be that it’d stink to be that close and not do it. But at this point, I have a pretty good idea that I can strike some people out. It’s part of my game. I spent such a great deal of my career as a contact guy. Then to be doing the complete opposite is interesting, especially at this stage in my career.”

4. The Braves went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position Thursday, but they showed improvement in that area throughout the series in Arizona. After going 6-for-36 in the four games entering Monday, they went 12-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the four-game series. They also had 22 extra-base hits, including nine homers.

5. The Braves’ magic number stayed at nine. If the Phillies lose to Pittsburgh, it drops to eight. If the Phillies defeat the Pirates, they’ll pull within two games of the Braves in the NL East.

Stat to know

14 (Webb’s scoreless streak ended at 14 games.)

In the desert

The Braves are 9-3 across their past three trips to Phoenix. They took three of four in each of those series.

Up next

The Braves open a four-game series in San Diego on Friday, their last road series of the regular season. It will begin with the resumption of a suspended game from July 21. The seven-inning contest will resume in the bottom of the fifth with the Braves trailing the Padres 5-4.