The Atlanta Braves may have started 0-4, but one would never know by watching their last 10 games. They won their fourth straight game and ninth out of 10 Friday when they blew out the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-1.
During their 10-game hot streak, the Braves have scored 74 runs, the most in the big leagues, and have scored 50 runs in their last six games. All that offensive output has resulted in the club leading the Major Leagues on the season in runs scored with 84.
A big part of the Braves' offensive surge has been Jason Heyward and his now career best 10-game hitting streak, which was extended in the sixth inning with a single, but the Braves pounded out 11 other hits, including two each from Michael Bourn, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones. Freddie Freeman continued his absurd streak this week with a three-hit night.
In his last four games, Freeman has driven in 12 runs, including two Friday, and has hit .588 (10-for-17) over the stretch. That kind of production has raised his average from .162 to .296.
"I was pretty dialed in last year in July, and I feel about the same right now," Freeman said. "I'm getting pitches to hit and I'm not missing them right now."
Brandon Beachy and Diamondbacks starer Trevor Cahill kept both offenses silent for the first two innings until Freeman doubled home Martin Prado for the first run of the ballgame. Atlanta would add two more for a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning when McCann hit a two-run homer.
The Braves' four-run inning in the sixth, during which Freeman hit another RBI-double, chased Cahill after 5 2/3 innings. He was responsible for seven runs (four earned).
"This is awesome," Braves first baseman Freeman said. "When the Phillies don't have [Ryan] Howard and [Chase] Utley, you want to take advantage of it and win some games. The way the Nationals are playing, we can't lose now. We are playing great right now and we have to be able to keep that going."
Beachy was just as solid as Mike Minor's eight-inning performance the night before. He held Arizona's offense to four hits, a walk and five strikeouts over 7 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his second win of 2012. His outing lowered his ERA to a Major League-best 0.47.
"This is a lot of fun," Beachy said. "I keep saying that word, but we are having a lot of fun. It's a game and we are enjoying it. We are playing it well. It's just like when we were kids."
Tommy Hanson will look to replicate the good fortune Braves pitching has seen of late, but the offense will have to go through Joe Saunders and his 0.64 ERA to do it in an 8:10 start.
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