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D-backs erupt in six-run seventh, hold off Braves late

Peralta, Goldschmidt go deep to send Anderson to fifth straight win

PHOENIX -- Experience is overrated.

Three rookies were the key to the D-backs' series-clinching 6-5 win against the Braves on Sunday. Two of them were not even on the Major League roster to start the season.

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PHOENIX -- Experience is overrated.

Three rookies were the key to the D-backs' series-clinching 6-5 win against the Braves on Sunday. Two of them were not even on the Major League roster to start the season.

View Full Game Coverage

Rookie No. 1 was starting pitcher Chase Anderson. Anderson was barely on the radar to start 2014. In Baseball America's preseason ranking of the D-backs' farm system, Anderson was left off the top 10 prospect list. His sole designation: best changeup.

His changeup wasn't working as well as he would have liked Sunday, but his fastball and curveball made up the difference. In his fifth career start, Anderson picked up his fifth career victory, making him only the third pitcher since 1998 to win his first five starts in the Major Leagues. The other two were the Angels' Jered Weaver and former Dodgers starter Kazuhisa Ishii.

Anderson had his best start in the win, going a career-high seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out eight -- the most he has punched out in his five-game career.

"I was able to throw my curveball for strikes, change was around 82, wasn't very good today," Anderson said. "But the fastball was where it was at today, so I was able to go deep."

Added manager Kirk Gibson: "He's 5-0 for us. He really threw one of his strongest games."

But while Anderson was controlling the Braves' offense, his team's lineup, which came into the game averaging more than 10 runs of support for the rookie pitcher, was silent. They loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning, but right fielder Gerardo Parra hit into a double play and shortstop Chris Owings struck out, ending the inning without a run.

Up against Braves starter Aaron Harang (4-5), it was Anderson who blinked first, giving up a two-run homer to former D-backs outfielder Justin Upton in the sixth inning.

"The first time I faced him I had him 2-2, threw a sinker and he grounded to shortstop," Anderson said. "It was, 'OK, maybe there's a bit of a hole on the inside' … But inside is where he can hit it, and he hit it pretty good."

A two-run deficit may have been a death sentence for the D-backs earlier in this season. Enter rookie No. 2: outfielder David Peralta.

Peralta -- a former pitcher turned outfielder -- played with Anderson at Double-A Mobile. After the game, both players recounted how Peralta hit a ball off Anderson's truck during batting practice before it could be shipped out to Anderson in Arizona. Like Anderson, Peralta was a non-prospect too old (26) to be playing at Double-A, and like Anderson, he has made an immediate impact on the D-backs.

In the fifth inning, he singled, hitting in his seventh straight game and setting a D-backs record for most consecutive games with a hit to start a big league career. But his biggest hit was yet to come.

With second baseman Aaron Hill on first in the seventh inning, Peralta launched a homer off the fence of the right-center-field concourse, tying the game at two with his first Major League home run.

"I saw the ball flying, and I was like, 'OK, I got it.' That one feels good," Peralta said. "I couldn't stop laughing."

Anderson came out for pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, who drew a walk -- the second straight free pass from Harang and reliever Luis Avilan -- and Parra dropped down a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third for rookie No. 3: Owings.

After striking out in nearly the same situation in the fifth inning, Owings was determined to make something happen. He did.

The 22-year-old shortstop roped a single through the left side, scoring two runners and giving the D-backs their first lead of the game.

"I'm just trying to battle," Owings said. "Peralta hit a two-run homer, and [I'm] just trying to keep things going."

Paul Goldschmidt -- a veritable grizzled veteran with his four years of experience -- capped the inning with a crushed home run that landed in the center-field concourse opposite Peralta's.

"It was a neck-and-neck game," Anderson said. "It's 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh, and jeez, we just go off."

The 6-2 lead the offense provided in the seventh withstood a comeback attempt from the Braves as another rookie, reliever Evan Marshall, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning, and veteran Brad Ziegler picked up the save.

"We had a lot of pressure on [the Braves] in the last two nights," Gibson said. "We didn't really max on our opportunities, but we kept the pressure on and didn't get discouraged by it."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for

Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Anderson, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings, David Peralta