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ATL@ARI: McCann belts a two-run shot to right field

PHOENIX -- Do not adjust your televisions. The monitors on your laptops and screens on your smart phone are working just fine.

Yes, these are the same Atlanta Braves who started the season 0-4. They just look like a completely different team.

On Friday, the Braves cruised past the D-backs, 9-1, for their fourth win in a row and ninth win in their last 10 games. The Braves have scored a Major League-leading 74 runs during the 10-game stretch and have scored 50 runs in their last six games.

The Braves (9-5) lead the Major Leagues with 84 runs scored, but still trail the first-place Nationals by 1 1/2 games in the NL East standings.

"This is awesome," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "When the Phillies don't have [Ryan] Howard and [Chase] Utley, you want to take advantage of it and win some games. The way the Nationals are playing, we can't lose now. We are playing great right now and we have to be able to keep that going."

One day after Mike Minor pitched a career-high eight innings for the victory against the D-backs in the first game of the series, Brandon Beachy followed with a gem of his own.

The Atlanta right-hander limited the Arizona offense to only four hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings. The D-backs were playing without injured outfielders Chris Young and Justin Upton, the club's two biggest offensive threats, but that should not minimize Beachy's effectiveness. He struck out five and walked one for the win, his second of the season.

"This is a lot of fun," Beachy said. "I keep saying that word, but we are having a lot of fun. It's a game and we are enjoying it. We are playing it well. It's just like when we were kids."

Beachy should enjoy the ride. He lowered his ERA to a Major League-leading 0.47.

"I don't know how long it will continue, but I'll enjoy it for now," Beachy said.

Braves right fielder Jason Heyward went 1-for-4 and matched a career high with a hit in 10 consecutive games, but he didn't shoulder the entire load Friday. Overall, the Braves racked up 12 hits, including a pair each from Michael Bourn, Brian McCann and Chipper Jones and three from Freeman.

Freeman has been on a tear and drove in two more runs on Friday, raising his total to 12 in the last four games. He is hitting .588 (10-for-17) with three home runs in his last four games to lift his batting average from .162 to .296.

"I was pretty dialed in last year in July, and I feel about the same right now," Freeman said. "I'm getting pitches to hit and I'm not missing them right now."

Beachy and D-backs starter Trevor Cahill exchanged zeroes in the first two innings of the game before Freeman drove home Martin Prado with a double for Atlanta's first run. The Braves tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning on a two-run homer by McCann for a 3-0 advantage and took a commanding lead with four runs in the sixth.

"They give me a one-run lead and they build on it, and the next thing you know, I'm out there pitching and it's 7-0," Beachy said. "I don't have to be as fine. I can throw pitches over the plate and try to let them get themselves out. It's unbelievable. If they continue to hit nearly as well, we are going to do some big things this year."

Freeman's second RBI double of the game came in the sixth off D-backs reliever Craig Breslow. Cahill was charged with seven runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two in the loss to even his season record to 1-1.

"It's a lot of fun to watch these guys gain confidence with every at-bat in every game," Jones said. "They want to be up there in the big spot. Ever since Mike Bourn has started hitting and setting the table, it has been a domino effect right on down the line. Freddie is hotter than a firecracker right now and [McCann] had a big homer. It's really cool to see these guys take the next step toward stardom." Comments