Braves Losing Ground In the East, Lose to D-Backs 12-6

Owings went 4-for-5, including a pair of mammoth homers, drove in six runs and scored four times while pitching three-hit ball through seven innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Atlanta Braves 12-6 on Saturday night.

Owings lives in nearby Gainesville, Ga., and had more than 50 friends and relatives on hand for his first career start in Atlanta. He won for the first time in two months.

"It's up there with the best ever," Owings said. "To be back home and have the game I had tonight, I'm just unbelievably blessed."

It was the fourth straight win and 21st in 26 games for the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, who pounded out 15 hits in handing the Braves their third straight loss. All three hits against the 24-year-old Owings (6-6) were solo homers.

"It was a nice little homecoming for him," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "We knew he could pitch, and we knew he could hit a little, too. Without him tonight, it's a different game."

Owings struck out seven and walked none to earn his first win since he beat Tampa Bay on June 20.

Jeff Francoeur homered twice, and Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones also went deep for the Braves.

"I kind of grew up playing against him and watching him. So I knew he could hit," Francoeur, an Atlanta native, said of Owings. "I've seen him hit balls before but not with a wood bat in a big league game. He kind of did everything tonight."

Owings was 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA in his previous nine starts and one inning of relief. The rookie, who played two seasons at Georgia Tech, lifted his batting average to .273 with the four hits. He has three homers and 11 RBIs.

"We knew he was a good hitter. Not just a good hitter, but a good hitter with power," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

He hit a two-run double in Arizona's four-run second inning, a solo 415-foot homer to left in the fourth, a two-run 446-foot drive to center in a three-run sixth and a broken-bat RBI single to center in a four-run seventh. He lined out in the eighth.

"He hit the ball 900 feet tonight," said Buddy Carlyle, who surrendered both homers. "It's kind of frustrating that it's the pitcher that did all that damage."

The record for RBIs by a pitcher in one game is nine set by Tony Cloninger of Atlanta, who had two grand slams against San Francisco on July 3, 1966.

Stephen Drew had a solo home run -- his ninth -- in the seventh. Arizona's Orlando Hudson went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs and Jeff Salazar went 2-for-5, drove in one run and scored three.

Carlyle (7-5) went five innings. He gave up 10 hits, eight runs -- five earned -- with two walks.

Owings, a third-round draft pick in 2005, hit his first home run this season against Florida on July 26.

He was a combined .382 (21-for-55) with a home run and 13 RBIs with Triple-A Tucson and Double-A Tennessee last season. In 2002, his senior season in high school, Owings hit a single-season state record 25 home runs.

Game notes
Owings is 4-0 in six starts against NL East teams. ... The game was delayed 27 minutes by rain with Arizona coming to bat in the third inning. ... Braves pitchers have given up nine homers in the last three games.

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