Eighth-inning outfield collision dooms Braves vs. D-backs

PHOENIX -- Arizona wound up with a bizarre victory, Nate McLouth with a big headache.

Gerardo Parra hit an inside-the-park home run when Atlanta outfielders McLouth and Jason Heyward collided in the eighth inning, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 victory over the Braves on Wednesday night.

Arizona trailed 1-0 when Parra hit a drive to right-center. The ball hit off the heel of McLouth's glove as he ran into Heyward.

McLouth spun around and fell backward, his head slamming on the ground. He stayed there face-down for several minutes before he was able to get up and walk off the field.

"He kind of slid and undercut me," McLouth said. "I think at that point I flipped over and hit the back of my head on the ground. It's a good thing I didn't dive because it could have been a lot worse, but I whacked my head pretty good."

Heyward got up and tracked down the ball to start a relay to the plate that was too late. It was Parra's first career inside-the-park homer and the seventh in Diamondbacks history.

Parra said he thought he would have a double in the gap at best.

"I just hear the third base coach say 'Go, go, go,'" Parra said.

McLouth and Heyward were intently watching the ball as they approached each other.

"It split them perfectly," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "Both of them are way above average outfielders."

Both outfielders ran so far that neither could call the other off, McLouth said.

"If it falls between you, you look like an idiot," he said. "If we both make the extra effort for it, sometimes unfortunately that's what happens. It was pretty much unavoidable."

Peter Moylan (2-1) hit Mark Reynolds with a pitch to lead off the Arizona eighth. It was a tough way to end Moylan's string of 123 appearances, a span of 102 1/3 innings over nearly two years without giving up a homer.

Ian Kennedy blanked Atlanta on three hits through seven innings and Kenshin Kawakami gave up four hits in seven innings for the Braves.

The hard-luck Kawakami remained 0-8, the first Braves pitcher since Rosy Ryan did it for the Boston Braves in 1925. Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 16 tries.

"He pitched his rear end off again," Cox said. "We got him absolutely no runs."

Doubles by Heyward and Brian McCann off Aaron Heilman (2-1) had put Atlanta up 1-0 in the eighth.

In Arizona's half of the inning, Reynolds was hit and advanced to second on Chris Young's sacrifice bunt.

Parra, who had not homered this season, lofted a high fly. McLouth, who had made a brilliant, diving catch earlier in the game, never took his eyes off the ball as he ran it down. Neither, apparently, did the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Heyward, and it was obvious who was going to get the worst of that run-in.

"I wasn't going to win that one," McLouth said.

Diamondbacks players cringed at the collision but welcomed the win, their eighth of 11 home games sandwiched around an 0-9 road trip.

"I'm happy Parra hit the home run," center fielder Young said, "but you never want to see anybody get hurt, especially on a play like that."

Both teams wasted opportunities.

The Braves had a chance to give Kawakami the lead in the seventh when Omar Infante's pinch-hit single put runners at first and third but Kennedy struck out Martin Prado to end the inning.

Atlanta loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single in the second but McLouth struck out and Kawakami grounded out.

Reynolds and teammate Justin Upton kept up their heated battle for the major league strikeout lead. Upton fanned three times and Reynolds twice, leaving the two tied at 80.

Atlanta's Troy Glaus was 0 for 3, all strikeouts.

Game notes
Atlanta RHP Kris Medlen said his left shoulder was sore but otherwise fine a day after he strained it diving headfirst into home plate. He expects to make his next scheduled start. ... LHP Dontrelle Willis makes his second start for Arizona on Thursday after throwing six sometimes-shaky but scoreless innings Saturday in his Diamondbacks' debut, a 4-3 win over Colorado. Tommy Hanson (6-3) goes for the Braves. ... Atlanta has left 35 runners on base in the last three games, nine on Wednesday.