ATLANTA (Reuters) - Winning pitcher Micah Owings went 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs at the plate to lead the National League West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks to a 12-6 road victory over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
The Diamondbacks won their fourth straight game and recorded their 21st win in their last 26 outings. They now lead the West by five games over the losing San Diego Padres.
Owings had been 0-5 with a 5.70 ERA in his last nine starts and one relief appearance but went seven strong innings to raise his record to 6-6. It was his first victory since June 20.
But the real story in this one was his hitting.
The product of Gainesville, Georgia and Georgia Tech University continued an offensive season that has seen him bat .273 - with three homers and 11 RBIs.
Both of his home runs on Saturday traveled over 400 feet.
“I’ve never seen a pitcher do that,” team mate Eric Byrnes told reporters. “It’s unbelievable.”
Owings hit a solo homer and a two-run shot and also had a two-run double and broken-bat RBI single. He scored four times. As a pitcher, he walked none and struck out seven while allowing three runs on three hits, all solo homers.
“It was a nice homecoming for him,” said Arizona manager Bob Melvin. “We knew he could pitch and we knew he could hit a little, too.”
A third straight loss dropped the Braves to 5.5 games behind the winning New York Mets in the NL East.
Jeff Francoeur hit two of Atlanta’s four home runs in the game.
*The Mets scored a 7-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, increasing their East lead over both the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The visiting Mets continue to be hammered by injuries but lead Philadelphia by four games and Atlanta by 5.5.
*Daryle Ward’s first homer of the season was a grand slam as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 for the second straight game. The win, the third straight for the Cubs after four straight losses, allowed Chicago to maintain a half-game lead in the Central.
*Gabe Gross and Geoff Jenkins both hit three-run homers as the Milwaukee Brewers snapped a five-game losing streak with an 8-4 triumph over the Cincinnati Reds.
*All-time home run king Barry Bonds hit the 760th of his career and his 26th of the season to help the San Francisco Giants to a 4-3 road win over the Florida Marlins.