ATLANTA — People like to say the Atlanta Braves live and die by the home run.
Jason Heyward says that’s not always the case, and he offered Saturday’s eighth inning as proof.
“We did a good job getting pitches to hit. We had some sac flies, we had some guys running the bases well, we had some guys drawing some walks,” Heyward said. “When you’re able to do things like that and put it all together, you have a lot of opportunities to win the game.”
Heyward hit a tying RBI double and Andrelton Simmons scored the go-ahead run on the same play in a seven-run eighth inning that gave the Braves an 11-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Braves rallied for their 23rd comeback victory, tops in the National League. Atlanta has won two straight and four of five to lead Washington by 6½ games in the NL East.
The Diamondbacks have lost four of five.
Braves starter Tim Hudson extended his winless streak to 10 straight starts, allowing five hits, four runs and four walks with two strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings.
David Hernandez (4-5) retired the first batter he faced in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Reed Johnson and Simmons were both hit by a pitch before Heyward doubled to left field.
Johnson scored from second on the double, but third base coach Brian Snitker signaled for Simmons to stop on the bag as Jason Kubel was throwing to cutoff man Eric Chavez at third.
When Kubel’s throw bounced wide left of Chavez, Simmons was able to score easily to give the Braves a 6-5 lead.
“I was bluffing at first just to force a throw (from Kubel) and maybe make him start getting ready to throw home, too,” Simmons said. “When I saw the ball went away from the third baseman, I noticed there was nobody in the space. The catcher was all the way back there, so I didn’t think they were going to beat me to home plate.”
After a single by Justin Upton chased Hernandez, Tony Sipp allowed Brian McCann’s two-run single and Dan Uggla’s RBI double, before B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly RBI to make it 10-5.
Chris Johnson added an RBI single off J.J. Putz for an 11-5 lead.
Hernandez allowed two hits and four runs with no walks or strikeouts in one-third of an inning.
“We didn’t deserve to win the game,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. “We walked five in an inning without a hit and only gave up two runs. Then we gave them seven walks, three hit batsmen, made an error. Just melted down. Didn’t play good at all. It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing for sure.”
The Diamondbacks took a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth on Miguel Montero’s fifth homer, a solo shot, off Jordan Walden. Walden (3-1) earned the win despite allowing three hits and one run with no walks and one strikeout in one inning.
Arizona scored its first four runs on an RBI double by Montero, Kubel’s RBI single in the fourth and A.J. Pollock’s two-run homer in the sixth.
Hudson was chased when Pollock’s sixth homer scored Kubel in the sixth to tie it at 4-all.
“I wish I’d have had an opportunity at a decision to get one more out, but the important thing is we won the ballgame,” Hudson said. “We ended up having really nice inning in the eighth there. That’s all that matters.”
Arizona’s rotation extended its winless streak to 21 games after Ian Kennedy gave up five hits, four runs, four walks and struck out four in 4 1-3 innings.
Kennedy fell behind 2-0 in the third when Justin Upton singled and scored on Freddie Freeman’s eighth homer.
Hudson, who began the game with a 16.88 ERA with runners in scoring position, labored in the 27-pitch fourth as Arizona tied it at 2-all.
But the Braves took advantage of Kennedy’s control problems in the fifth, scoring two runs without getting a hit and by putting just one ball, B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly RBI, in play.
Kennedy walked three of the first four batters he faced, getting chased on his free pass to Brian McCann.
Will Harris, the next Arizona pitcher, walked the first batter he faced, Uggla, to score Heyward. Upton’s sacrifice fly scored Freeman to make it 4-2.
Kennedy was making his first appearance since serving a 10-game suspension imposed following a brawl between the Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 11.
Making his seventh straight start on the road, Kennedy dropped to 1-4 with a 6.28 ERA in 10 starts away from Phoenix.
Notes: Chavez went 1 for 5 with five runners left on base in his first game since May 30. Chavez was returning from a strained right oblique. ... Putz was activated from disabled list before the game. The Arizona closer had been sidelined since May 7 with a strained right elbow. ... The teams combined to use 13 pitchers.