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6:40 PM PT7:40 PM MT8:40 PM CT9:40 PM ET21:40 ET1:40 GMT9:40 6:40 PM MST8:40 PM EST9:10 PM VEN5:40 UAE (+1)8:40 PM CT, May 9, 2019
Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona  Attendance: 17,751

Braves, D-backs open series with pitching rematch

The Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves start a four-game series Thursday night in Phoenix in what could very well be a low-scoring game.

The pitching matchup is a battle of former first-round picks and a rematch of an April 18 game in Atlanta, won by the Diamondbacks 4-1. Arizona starter Luke Weaver pitched five scoreless innings. Braves starter Mike Soroka allowed one run in five innings.

That was the season debut for Soroka, the 28th pick in the 2015 draft who has been terrific in winning each of his past three starts. The 21-year-old rookie right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.14 ERA this season. Opponents are hitting .182 against him, and he has yet to allow a home run in 23 2/3 innings.

"The game's slow to him," Braves catcher Brian McCann said on Fox Sports South. "You're talking to him before the game, you're talking to him in-game, the adjustments he's able to make because he slows the game down. To be his age, it's incredible.

"It's hard to think about someone that can come in here and take the ball and to slow the game down like he can. It's a rare thing in today's game. He's well beyond his years."

The Braves enter Thursday after being swept in three road games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Atlanta is 3-3 on its 10-game road trip, having swept the Miami Marlins last weekend.

Arizona is coming off a feel-good, 3-2 victory in 13 innings at Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon, as the Diamondbacks snapped a three-game skid. It was a confidence-building game for pitchers Archie Bradley, who picked up the win with three scoreless innings of relief, and Zack Godley, who earned the save with a perfect inning.

Bradley's eighth-inning meltdown at Colorado on Sunday started the team's three-game losing streak, while Godley had recently been demoted from the rotation. They perhaps re-earned their manager's trust.

"You want to see them throw strikes and get back to the form that they were. They feel pretty good about it," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo.

"That was a huge win. You talk about character-builders. You gotta really dig down deep and do something right as a unit. The series was not easy for us. But after two tough losses, you grind through the game ... and the pitching let us catch our breath a little bit."

Weaver (3-1, 3.29 ERA) has been a breath of fresh air after coming over from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade in the offseason. He struck out nine, walked one and allowed four hits against the Braves on April 18 as Arizona completed a three-game sweep in Atlanta.

That started a run in which Weaver, the 27th pick in the 2014 draft, has won three of four starts with a 1.99 ERA in 22 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander has struck out 29 and walked four in those four starts.

Weaver's only other meeting with the Braves came in 2018, when he lost to Atlanta after allowing eight runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings (15.43 ERA).

Arizona could get a boost during this series with the return of catcher Alex Avila, who has been out since April because of a left quad strain.

"We miss his presence, his leadership, his calm demeanor, his bat, his ability to make adjustments behind the plate and control the pitcher/catcher situation," Lovullo said. "We miss him. He'll be a welcome addition."

--Field Level Media

Updated May 9, 2019

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