PHOENIX — Maybe the Arizona Diamondbacks hoped for more from Robbie Ray on the heels of his being named the National League Player of the Week for last week’s two winning performances.
Not that Ray disappointed on Thursday night, but he couldn’t ride the recent success to another win as the Diamondbacks were limited by Atlanta Braves youngster Matt Wisler in a 3-1 loss.
Wisler, called up from Triple-A in time to start Thursday, didn’t allow a hit for six innings. The 23-year-old Wisler (5-11) ended up allowing a run and two hits with four strikeouts and three walks in eight innings.
“He stayed with his sinker, maybe took a little bit off it like a (batting practice) fastball. You saw all of those ground balls that resulted from it when he was behind in the count,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “Tip your cap, guys battled him but he just beat us.”
Paul Goldschmidt broke up Wisler’s no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the seventh. Goldschmidt scored on Chris Owings’ groundout.
“My whole focus was to just compete on every pitch,” Wisler said. “Slider got better as the game went along.”
Ray (7-12) saw his pitch count surpass 100 before the fifth inning was over. He allowed two runs and six hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
“It was a little reminiscent of some of his outings last year, where he would only give up a couple of runs but it took a lot of pitches to do it,” Hale said of Ray.
The Braves scored twice in the third when the first three hitters singled. Freddie Freeman drove in Ender Inciarte, then Nick Markakis beat out a ground ball to avoid a double play that allowed Adonis Garcia to score from third base.
“I felt good coming out. Just there in the middle innings, command got away from me a little bit, but I was able to battle and was able to hold them to just two runs, so I am pretty happy with that,” Ray said.
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson, once a top Diamondbacks prospect, took two hits away with good defensive plays. He went deep in the hole to flag down a sharply hit grounder from Owings and threw him out at first base in the second inning. Then in the third, Swanson reached to catch Tuffy Gosewich’s line drive up the middle.
Swanson reached on an error to lead off the sixth and scored on Gordon Beckham’s double off Arizona reliever Silvino Brach.
“We knew he was going to be a great player. We drafted him No. 1,” Hale said of Swanson. “He is a quality kid, he is a quality player. He has a nice future in the major leagues.”
Freeman, playing first base, tumbled head first over a railing down the right field line trying to run down a foul pop in the second inning. Freeman somersaulted over the railing and his lower back slammed into a row of chairs beneath the padded fence. Teammates and staff rushed to his aid, but Freeman was able to get to his feet and remained in the game.
“When I watched the replay I was like, ‘We’re lucky because he didn’t snap his back,'” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “Talking to him before his last at-bat, he said ‘Now it just feels like I got hit with a pitch.'”
The Diamondbacks called up Bracho and pitcher Vicente Campos before Thursday’s game, Bracho from Triple-A Reno and Campos for his major league debut from Double-A Mobile. Relievers Dominic Leone and Steve Hathaway were optioned to Reno.
Campos was one of the players acquired from the Yankees for reliever Tyler Clippard on July 31. Brach has pitched in 15 games for Arizona this season. He warmed up to enter the game in the seventh inning but was not called upon.
The Braves optioned pitcher Madison Younginer to Triple-A Gwinnett. Wisler and pitcher Brandon Cunniff were recalled along with infielder Brandon Snyder, who took the roster spot left open by the trade of Jeff Francoeur on Wednesday.
Braves: RHP Rob Whalen went on the 15-day DL with right shoulder fatigue.
Diamondbacks: OF A.J. Pollock, who has missed all season after fracturing his right elbow, will be activated on Friday. He is scheduled to play two of every three games over the rest of 2016. The Diamondbacks sent OF Mitch Haniger to Triple-A Reno after the game to make roster space for Pollock.
Braves: RHP Joel De La Cruz (0-6) will face the San Francisco Giants Friday night in California. He has never faced the Giants.
Diamondbacks: RHP Braden Shipley (2-3) is set for his seventh career start and third at home. Shipley has allowed 13 earned runs over his last two starts (10 1-3 innings).