Godley delivers victory with timely quality start
ATLANTA -- A tone needed to be set for the D-backs on Friday night against the Braves at SunTrust Park. For manager Torey Lovullo, this meant a reload and a spark, and he got exactly what he wanted in the form of Zack Godley.
Godley gave the D-backs the start -- and spark -- they needed in a 2-1 win, which couldn't have come at a better time after one of the craziest weeks in club history. Arizona remained a half game behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West.
"Because of what Zack did, he was able to set that tone and give us a chance to win this game," Lovullo said.
Godley provided a quality start when a gassed Arizona bullpen needed it most after being depleted in a 16-inning bout with the Padres on Sunday and having to use two position players on the mound on Wednesday when Shelby Miller (tightness in right elbow) and T.J. McFarland (left oblique strain) landed on the disabled list.
More than just timely, Godley's start kept the D-backs within striking distance of the Braves. Arizona's starter gave up just one run -- on Kurt Suzuki's RBI hit, which was the third consecutive two-out single for the Braves in the first.
"I thought I made some good pitches in that first inning," Godley said. "They just put some good swings on some balls. … I could do nothing but tip my cap and keep moving forward."
And move forward he did as Godley finished his outing after six innings, striking out seven along the way. He retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced. With Friday night's win, the D-backs are now 7-3 when Godley tosses six innings or more.
"He did exactly what we wanted him to," Lovullo said. "He separated what he needed to and went out and threw six quality innings. When the starters do that, it makes us a good team, it makes us able to maneuver the bullpen."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the game tied at 1 in the seventh inning, Dan Winkler threw a wild pitch during an at-bat to Nick Ahmed, whom the Braves selected in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft before dealing him to the D-backs in the Justin Upton trade. It put a runner into scoring position for Ahmed, who drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single up the middle that gave the D-backs a lead they would not relinquish.
"You had a feeling that it was kind of going to be a close one, but then Nick came up big and had some big hits in this game," catcher Alex Avila said.
With the win, Godley became just the ninth pitcher in D-backs history to notch 11 or more wins before the All-Star break. Godley, who is now 11-6 on the year, joined the likes of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Up by just one run against an NL team known for late-inning comebacks, Brad Boxberger had his work cut out for him in the ninth inning -- but he was up for the challenge. Boxberger struck out the side to record his 23rd save of the season.
HE SAID IT
"That's the type of day it was today. It wasn't a perfect day. It wasn't a pristine day. It wasn't drawn up exactly how we wanted it to, but the effort and focus was good, and I was really happy with that." -- Lovullo, on earning the first win of the series in Atlanta
The D-backs go for the series win at 1:10 p.m. MST on Saturday. All-Star Zack Greinke, who allowed just two runs on six hits in his last start, closes out his first half. The Braves will counter with Sean Newcomb.