ATLANTA - Juan Cruz pitched seven shutout innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks broke a 24-inning scoreless streak with two unearned runs in the eighth, defeating the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, on Thursday night.
Shawn Green lined a two-out, two-run single off Mike Remlinger after the Braves' bullpen nearly wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam set up by starting pitcher Horacio Ramirez's throwing error.
Cruz (3-3), making his seventh consecutive start after beginning the season in the bullpen, had the longest outing of his career, eclipsing two previous appearances of 6w innings.
He gave up five hits and escaped his only major jam in the sixth when Jeff Francoeur flied out to center with the bases loaded, prompting Cruz to pound his chest defiantly as he walked off the mound.
Ramirez (1-1) held the Diamondbacks to three hits over seven innings, but his defensive miscue in the eighth wound up costing the Braves dearly.
Pinch-hitter Jeff DaVanon started the inning with a walk, and Andy Green followed with the expected sacrifice bunt. But Ramirez let the ball slip under his glove, then rushed an underhanded toss that sailed over the head of second baseman Marcus Giles, who was covering first.
DaVanon made it all the way to third and Green wound up at second on the error. After an intentional walk to Eric Byrnes, Ramirez was replaced by Macay McBride of Screven County and left to a standing ovation.
The Atlanta bullpen, a problem spot all year, nearly escaped the jam. McBride struck out Chad Tracy and was replaced by Chad Paronto, who retired Conor Jackson on a soft liner up the middle that was backhanded by Giles. Remlinger, the fourth Atlanta pitcher of the inning, got ahead 1-2 on Green, but the Diamondbacks outfielder fought off one pitch before driving an opposite-field single to left-center.
The Diamondbacks passed on struggling closer Jose Valverde, who has 14 saves but a 5.85 ERA. Jorge Julio, acquired from the Mets last week, came on in the ninth to earn his first save with Arizona and second overall, despite giving up a leadoff homer to Andruw Jones.
Arizona failed to score in the final 17 innings of a series in New York, including a 1-0, 13-inning loss Wednesday. They didn't have much success against Ramirez, who allowed only one runner past second base until the eighth.
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