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Jul 11, 2024 7:42 am

Eugenio Suarez looks to help D-backs salvage split vs. Braves

Eugenio Suarez

Eugenio Suarez’s bat was missing in action for the first three-plus months of the season but it is heating up in July.

Suarez was a sub-.200 hitter when the month began but he has rediscovered his stroke. The Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman will look to keep up the torrid hitting when his club closes a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night in Phoenix.

Suarez was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason to give the offense a boost. Instead, the power was missing and he batted just .172 in May and .156 in June.

He was hitting .196 when July began but has since batted .323 (10-for-31) with two homers, four doubles and 11 RBIs to raise his average to .208.

Suarez was one of the many Arizona heroes in Wednesday’s 7-5 victory over the Braves. He ripped a two-run homer into the second deck in left and also had a run-scoring double into the left-field corner.

The 452-foot blast off Charlie Morton was a feel-good moment for Suarez, who has just eight homers this season. He has belted 30 or more four times in his career.

“I knew I got a good breaking ball,” Suarez said of the homer. “I was looking for one mistake and I got one. I was ready for it. I put my best swing on it.”

It was Suarez’s second big game of the month. In Sunday’s 9-1 win over the host San Diego Padres, he homered and matched his career high of five RBIs.

The game Wednesday also marked the first time Arizona defeated Atlanta in six meetings this season. Now the Diamondbacks have a chance to gain a series split on Thursday.

“That was our mentality,” Suarez said. “We needed to win this game. We came here with a conviction.”

Atlanta won four consecutive games before losing on Wednesday.

All-Star Marcell Ozuna belted a two-run shot for his 24th homer of the season, and Austin Riley had three hits. Ozuna’s homer tied the game in the eighth before Arizona pushed across two runs in the bottom of the inning.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Ozuna. “It’s big hits, coming through in the clutch always. It’s been pretty remarkable what he’s done.”

The Diamondbacks will look to torch Atlanta left-hander Max Fried (7-4, 3.18 ERA) for the second time this season.

Fried allowed season worsts of eight runs (seven earned) in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-8 home victory over Arizona on April 6. He received a no-decision and is 1-0 with a 4.84 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks.

Fried, 30, allowed 10 hits in that game, his worst showing until last Friday when he gave up 11 — including two homers. He gave up five runs in six innings while taking the loss against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Ketel Marte (4-for-11) and Suarez (3-for-9) each have homered once off Fried. Kevin Newman is just 1-for-12.

Arizona will start right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (3-6, 4.19), who left his last start on Saturday in the fifth inning after being struck in the left ankle by a liner off the bat of San Diego’s Luis Arraez.

But Pfaadt has recovered and will look to end a four-start winless drought. He gave up one run and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings against the Padres before exiting.

Pfaadt, 25, was pitted against Fried on April 6 when making his first career start against Atlanta. He was handed a 6-0 lead and received a no-decision. He allowed five runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, including a three-run homer to Ozuna.

Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno (lower back discomfort) was a late scratch from Wednesday’s game, but manager Torey Lovullo said afterward that Moreno will be in the lineup Thursday.

–Field Level Media

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