Eddie Rosario is fresh off a milestone that he hopes will propel the Atlanta Braves into a sustained winning streak.
Rosario hit for the cycle while seeing just five pitches on Sunday and he looks to contribute again when the Braves open a four-game series against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night in Phoenix.
The exploits of Rosario and Adam Duvall (two-run homer) helped Atlanta post a 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants to halt a four-game losing streak. The Braves (77-70) lead the National League East by two games over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We’re all very aware that we’re in first place,” Rosario said through an interpreter after Sunday’s outing. “Any time that we go up against anybody, I feel like they’re going to give us their best shot. It’s not easy, but for us, we just have to keep fighting and grit out the tough series and tough games.”
Rosario doubled to right on the second pitch of his second-inning at-bat and had first-pitch hits the rest of the way: a triple to right center in the fifth, a homer to right in the seventh and a single to center in the ninth.
Rosario was well aware he hit for the cycle as he called for the baseball shortly after reaching first base.
“That’s quite a feat to do,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said afterward. “That’s a big deal for a hitter to hit for the cycle. Great accomplishment and congratulations to him.”
Rosario is the second Atlanta player to hit for the cycle in 4 1/2 weeks. Freddie Freeman accomplished the feat against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 18.
Rosario’s 12th homer and Duvall’s 36th blast — both in the seventh inning — allowed the Braves to salvage the finale of the three-game series against the Giants.
Atlanta hopes to rack up wins against the Diamondbacks, who own the worst record (48-101) in the NL.
Arizona has lost five of its past six games after blowing an eighth-inning lead during Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
The Diamondbacks saw a two-run lead evaporate as rookie right-hander Brandyn Sittinger gave up a two-run homer to Jose Siri and the decisive blast to Chas McCormick.
It was a painful setback but Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said the franchise has to learn about its younger players as they play out the season.
“We want to make sure we get these evaluations right,” Lovullo said afterward. “This is a really good experience for them and a way for us to see what is happening inside of a very tough environment.”
Right-hander Humberto Mejia (0-1, 4.91 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Reno to start Monday.
The 24-year-old Mejia is making his third start for the Diamondbacks and his first against the Braves. He pitched five innings in a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 23 and lost to the Phillies on Aug. 28.
Mejia served up two homers against Philadelphia while giving up four runs and eight hits over six innings.
Right-hander Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.26) is expected to start for the Braves.
The 23-year-old Ynoa is 0-4 over his last seven starts — the past six coming after he missed three months due to punching the dugout bench and breaking his pitching hand after a rough outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 16.
Ynoa struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies in his last turn while receiving a no-decision. He gave up two runs, four hits and two walks.
In his only career meeting with the Diamondbacks, Ynoa defeated Arizona on April 23, when he gave up two runs and two hits over six innings.
–Field Level Media