ATLANTA - Austin Riley is scorching hot and pleased that he's helping the Atlanta Braves stay within striking distance of the lead in the National League East Division standings.
The big-hitting third baseman had a home run and three RBIs, and Kyle Wright pitched to his NL-leading 13th victory of the season as the Braves beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Friday night to open a three-game series at Truist Park.
Riley homered in the first inning and drove in runs with doubles in the third and fifth. He has 11 homers, 24 RBIs and a .427 batting average this month.
"As long as we're winning ballgames, that for me is what it's all about," Riley said. "If I can contribute in any way, that's what I'm here to do. That's what they've got me here to do. If I can do that, I feel like we're right where we need to be."
The Braves, who won the World Series last fall and have won the NL East the past four seasons, remained three games behind the first-place New York Mets in the division. Second-place Atlanta had lost four of its previous seven games but improved to 37-14 since June 1, the best record in Major League Baseball over that span.
Wright has won six straight decisions and has a 2.93 ERA over his past seven starts. He gave up five hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
The Braves scored three times in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Michael Harris II walked and advanced on Ronald Acuña Jr.'s infield single. Harris scored when Dansby Swanson reached on a fielder's choice and third baseman Josh Rojas made a throwing error to second. Riley followed with an RBI double and Travis d'Arnaud with an RBI single.
Riley put Atlanta up 5-2 in the fifth with a double that drove in Swanson from first. His 29th homer of the season had made it 1-0 in the first, when the ball barely cleared the left-field wall near the visitors' bullpen.
Riley extended his sizzling streak as he began the night ranked among the top six in the majors in extra-base hits, total bases, homers, hits, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage.
Wright pitched out of a jam with two runners in scoring position and nobody out in the third. Wright struck out Geraldo Perdomo and retired Rojas on a lineout and Alek Thomas on a groundout to end the threat.
He gave up his first hit and run with two outs in the fourth. Daulton Varsho singled to advance a runner to third, and Jake McCarthy singled to trim the lead to 4-1. Perdomo hit his third homer of the year to make it 4-2 in the fifth.
"Really, I didn't throw the ball that well," Wright said. "My fastball was OK. Changeup wasn't very good. I was able to use my cutter a little bit. I just really relied on my curveball big-time today. I was able to throw it for strikes and get chases and get groundballs. It really wasn't pretty. I thought I was a little rocky at times."
After a single by Rojas chased Wright with two outs in the seventh, Dylan Lee struck out pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow with runners on first and second. Collin McHugh pitched the eighth for Atlanta, and Kenley Jansen recorded a shaky 24th save in 28 chances this season after facing six batters in the ninth.
Jansen gave up a leadoff triple to Varsho before striking out McCarthy and Carson Kelly and walking Perdomo and Rojas. Luplow struck out swinging to end it.
Madison Bumgarner (6-10) took the loss, surrendering eight hits and five runs (four earned) in six innings. It was in sharp contrast to his previous appearance at Truist Park on April 25, 2021, when he pitched a seven-inning no-hitter.
"I didn't feel like I had a feel for anything today," Bumgarner said. "It was a grind to say the least. Nothing felt good. My body didn't feel good. Stuff didn't feel good, but I just kept trying to make pitches, and we adjusted the game plan pretty quick, and just tried to do what I could."
Chris Devenski pitched the seventh for Arizona, making his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.
Meanwhile, Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies, on the 60-day injured list with a right foot fracture, is out of his walking boot and progressing well, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. Albies is working on conditioning but no baseball activities and he isn't expected back until late August or early September.
Also, Atlant right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery) will make at least one more rehab appearance before he's activated.