ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley had a special month. He just wants to keep up the momentum and help the Atlanta Braves successfully defend their World Series title.
“I use the term consistent,” he said. “I think that’s the name of the game. My routine is very consistent right now, and I’m feeling good, and I’m getting pitches and I’m not missing them. So I think locked in is the term.”
Riley hit a run-scoring double off Mark Melancon in the ninth inning, giving the Braves a 1-0 victory over Arizona on Sunday and a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks.
Max Fried, Dylan Lee and Kenley Jansen (5-0) combined on a four-hitter for the Braves, who at 62-41 moved 21 games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2019 at 97-65.
Matt Olson singled with one out in the ninth against Melancon (3-9) and scored when Riley’s double hit the fence in right-center on two hops. Olson slid headfirst, easily beating the throw.
Jansen (5-0) walked pinch-hitter Alek Thomas with two outs in the top half, but Thomas was caught stealing second by catcher Travis d’Arnaud when Thomas took a foot off the bag after passing the base with a headfirst slide.
Atlanta had lost eight of its last previous series finales. The Braves have swept six series this season but were just 1-5 in their prior six chances to sweep.
The Braves are 39-14 since June 1, the best record in the majors over that span. They stayed three games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.
Atlanta is a big league-best 47-8 when scoring first.
Fried, an All-Star who has a 2.09 ERA over his last eight starts, allowed four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.
Arizona’s Merrill Kelly gave up three hits and two walks in seven innings with eight strikeouts, He lowered his ERA to 1.31 over his last six starts.