By JOHN MARSHALL
PHOENIX (AP) — The Atlanta Braves wriggled out of one jam after the next with a series of spectacular plays.
Nick Markakis had the best of the bunch in the game’s biggest moment.
Markakis made a diving catch with the bases loaded to rob Wilmer Flores and end the eighth inning, helping the Braves hold off the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 on Sunday.
“I was on Ender (Inciarte) and all of a sudden I saw Nicky dive and make that play,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It saved the game for us.”
Atlanta’s pitchers were in tight spots all day in the desert, starting with Max Fried’s bases-loaded jam in the first inning.
Fried gave up Adam Jones’ two-run homer in Arizona’s three-run fourth inning, but the rest of the Braves’ pitchers limited the damage of Arizona’s 14 hits with a huge boost from their defense.
The tightest spot came with a one-run lead in the eighth inning, when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out against Sean Holcomb.
He struck out Christian Walker and Dan Winkler got Flores to hit a diving ball to right field. The ball appeared as if it would fall, likely scoring two runs, but Markakis, a three-time Gold Glover, dove forward to make the grab.
“I don’t know if I’m expecting them, but not surprised when they happen,” Fried said of the spectacular defensive plays.
Fried (5-2) was hit on the left hand by a liner and had to leave in the second inning Tuesday against the Dodgers. The left-hander did not miss his turn in the rotation and allowed three runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts.
Joahan Camargo and Tyler Flowers each had two RBIs, and Luke Jackson allowed two hits in two innings for his fourth save.
Atlanta has won consecutive series in Arizona for the first time since 2003-04 after holding the Diamondbacks to 1 for 9 with runners scoring position.
Jones reached 900 career RBIs with his homer for the Diamondbacks, who stranded 11 runners to lose for the sixth time in eight games.
“We kept striking back and giving ourselves a chance to stay in this game,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Had some timely hitting, some good things were happening, but we just couldn’t get that big hit at the right time, with runners in scoring position to really cash in.”
Arizona’s Zack Godley (1-3) was bumped to the bullpen after allowing at least four runs in four of his first six starts. His return to the rotation was more like a relief appearance.
Godley gave up three hits in the second inning, including Inciarte’s RBI bloop single to left, and fellow starting pitcher Zack Greinke pinch-hit for him in the bottom half.
“I felt good, I threw pitches where I wanted to,” said Godley, who expected to stay in the game longer. “I threw the ball where I wanted to.”
Greinke, one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, lined a single up the middle, but was stranded after left fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. made a leaping grab on Jones’ hard-hit ball in the gap. Greinke is 2-for-4 in his career as a pinch hitter.
Camargo drove in two with a single and Flowers added a run-scoring single off Jon Duplantier in the third inning to put Atlanta up 4-0. The runs allowed were the first in five big league appearances by Duplantier this season.
GAUSMAN DROPS APPEAL
Gausman made two starts after being suspended by MLB, including a 6-4 win over Arizona Saturday night. He would be eligible to return to Atlanta’s rotation on Saturday, giving him an extra day’s rest.
Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman was a late scratch with a head cold and was replaced by Charlie Culberson, who went 3 for 4. … Acuña was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Duplantier in the third inning, but stayed in the game after being checked out by a trainer.