ATLANTA (AP) - Taylor Ward homered in a five-run first, Reid Detmers pitched five scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Angels cooled off the Atlanta Braves with a 9-1 victory Sunday.
Max Stassi went 3 for 4 and drove in three runs, and Ward was 3 for 5 with an RBI for the Angels, who improved to 3-14 this month and snapped a five-game skid. They had dropped 14 of 16 and were a season-worst 16 games under .500.
The defending World Series champion Braves had won 14 of 19 and were 35-11 since June 1, the best record in the majors during that span.
Atlanta, which began the day a half-game behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East, was a season-worst 10 1/2 out on June 1. The Braves are trying to erase their biggest deficit to win a division title since the division era began in 1969. The 1993 team set the franchise record at 10 games back before winning the NL West.
Los Angeles entered hitting .185 with only 39 runs in July, both last in the majors, but it batted around to lead 5-0 in the first. Ward's 13th homer barely cleared the wall in left-center before Jared Walsh and Luis Rengifo singled, and Stassi and Jo Adell each had an RBI single. Phil Gosselin followed with a walk, Brandon Walsh an RBI infield single and Andrew Velazquez an RBI single.
The Angels tacked on three more in the fourth to go up 8-0. Shohei Ohtani walked, advanced to third on Ward's hard single that chased starter Ian Anderson and scored on Rengifo's single. Ward scored from first on the same play as right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. made a throwing error to third. Rengifo scored on Stassi's sacrifice fly.
Detmers (3-3) allowed three hits with two walks and six strikeouts, throwing 52 of 90 pitches for strikes. The lefty improved to 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts this month.
Detmers retired seven in a row and nine of 10 after striking out Acuna to end the third. His only blemish was a walk to Matt Olson in the first before Dansby Swanson scratched out the first Braves hit with a single leading off the fourth. Detmers got Orlando Arcia to ground out to strand the bases loaded in the inning.
That was the only major threat he faced.
Anderson (8-6) was 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA in three starts this month but he looked more like the pitcher whose 6.91 ERA in June was the highest in the NL last month. The right-hander gave up seven runs and eight hits in three-plus innings.
Acuna's RBI single in the seventh put Atlanta on the board. Stassi's RBI triple in the eighth made it 9-1.
Angels: Ward left the game for a pinch-runner after hitting a single in the eighth.
Braves: LF Adam Duvall was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left wrist. 1B Mike Ford was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
The Angels designated INF Jonathan Villar for assignment after he went 0 for 4 and committed two errors Saturday. OF Magneuris Sierra had his contract selected from Triple-A Salt Lake.
There were plenty of empty seats, but the Braves announced their 27th sellout this season and the highest attended three-game series, 128,357, since Truist Park opened in 2017.
Angels: RHP Noah Syndergaard (5-7, 4.00 ERA) will face Zack Greinke (3-6, 4.64) when Los Angeles opens a three-game series at Kansas City on Monday.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (10-3, 2.64 ERA) faces Ranger Suarez (7-4, 4.07) when Atlanta begins a three-game series at Philadelphia on Monday.
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