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Arizona can't solve Santana as Braves score early for 8th straight victory

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ATLANTA - Arizona manager Kirk Gibson found no fault with Josh Collmenter after the right-hander settled down in the third inning.

Collmenter gave up a career-high 11 hits, and the Diamondbacks couldn't solve Ervin Santana or the Atlanta bullpen in a 5-2 loss to the Braves on Friday night.

"He went out there and did the best he could and got through six innings. We were unable to score runs," Gibson said.

Freddie Freeman drove in two runs, and Santana won his second straight start for Atlanta, which stretched its winning streak to eight games.

Arizona began the night tied with Houston for the most losses in the majors with 51. The Diamondbacks have lost seven of 11.

"We're trying everything we can to turn around things, but it's not happening," third baseman Martin Prado said. "We're trying to have good at-bats and everything. I feel like we're pretty close. There's a bunch of guys having good at-bats."

After earning three victories from June 20-28, Collmenter (7-5) allowed five runs, one walk, and struck out three in six-plus innings.

The Braves have won 10 of 11 to move 10 games over .500 for the first time since April 29. They lead the NL East by 1 1/2 games.

Santana (7-5) gave up six hits and two runs with one walk and six strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.

The Braves made it 2-0 in the first on Freeman's RBI single and Jason Heyward's RBI groundout.

Atlanta went up 4-1 in the third on Andrelton Simmons bases-loaded RBI single and Justin Upton's RBI walk, but Collmenter stranded the bases loaded when Heyward popped out.

Collmenter's night ended after Simmons led off the seventh with a double. Oliver Perez, the next Arizona pitcher, allowed another RBI single by Freeman to make it 5-1.

"I wasn't missing so much up in the zone as missing over the plate, enough for them to get a piece of the ball," Collmenter said. "I just didn't capitalize on my opportunities when I could have made a pitch."

Santana seemed in sync most of the night, but that hasn't been the case over the last few weeks. After winning 2-0 against the Cubs on May 10, Santana went 1-5 with a 5.96 ERA over his next eight starts before earning a 10-3 victory last Saturday at Philadelphia.

"Everything my way is getting back again, so I just have to keep it up," Santana said. "Keep my mind positive and keep working down in the zone."

Santana retired 11 straight before Didi Gregorius singled to begin the eighth. He left the game one out later when Ender Inciarte singled.

After Luis Avilan retired David Peralta on an RBI forceout, Jordan Walden gave up a double to Paul Goldschmidt before striking out Miguel Montero to end the threat.

In the ninth, Craig Kimbrel struck out Prado, retired Gerardo Parra on a groundout and got Nick Ahmed to fly out for his 27th save in 31 chances.

Arizona cut the lead to 2-1 in the second when Prado led off with a single, moved to second and third on groundouts and scored on Santana's wild pitch.

Santana didn't make many mistakes.

"He was spotting," Prado said. "I saw him pretty good, but he was commanding his fastball. They took advantage of the first inning and scored a couple runs, and that was good enough for him."

NOTES: Collmenter allowed 10 hits in a 6-0 loss at Detroit on June 25, 2011. ... The Braves announced a sellout with a season-high crowd of 48,815. ... Freeman, who went 2 for 4, is hitting .365 over his last 19 games. ... Atlanta's bullpen has a 0.42 ERA over a span of 21 2-3 innings during the eight-game winning streak. ... Peralta went 2 for 4 and is hitting .406 over his last nine games. ... Perez had stranded 10 straight inherited runners before Freeman drove in Simmons.

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