PHOENIX -- After two disappointing starts to begin the season, Josh Collmenter did all he could to turn his fortunes around on Thursday.
But with a couple of soft hits in the sixth inning during a tie game, the night unraveled quickly for Arizona in a 10-2 loss to the Braves at Chase Field.
Despite dropping their third straight and fifth in their last seven, the D-backs saw a silver lining in the way Collmenter improved after allowing 11 runs over seven innings in his first two starts of the season.
"He threw the ball really well for us," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It wasn't really justice what happened to him tonight. But he can certainly feel good about the way he threw the ball tonight."
Brian McCann started the sixth-inning rally with a dribbler to third base and beat the throw from Ryan Roberts for a single. Dan Uggla then blooped a single in front of Gerardo Parra to knock Collmenter out of the game.
"You think everything is going well, then those hits happen that you could've let them throw it and they wouldn't have found better spots," Collmenter said. "The luck was on their side and the game opened from there, but to have this and to build on it, I actually felt like I was pitching instead of just throwing. It was reassuring and it's something I'm happy about."
For the third consecutive Collmenter start, Wade Miley came out of the bullpen to replace him.
Atlanta continued its soft-hit streak with a Jason Heyward opposite-field double to score one and a Juan Francisco jammed hit up the middle with the infield in to drive in two.
When the inning ended, the Braves were up 5-2 and Collmenter's bounce-back night turned into a 5 1/3-inning, four-earned-run outing.
"Historically, he gives us fits, but I thought it was one of those nights," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We were able to peck away and had one big inning that got us over the hump a little bit and we were able to score some runs."
It was the third consecutive game the D-backs fell victim to bloop singles in late innings. They also lost Tuesday and Wednesday to the Pirates with fly balls that fell just shy of oncoming outfielders.
"You just hate to see it happen a few days in a row," second baseman Aaron Hill said. "You take every one of those when you're on the other side, but it kind of hurts when it happens to you. There's nothing you can do about it, though. Guys are doing their jobs, but everything went their way."
Collmenter didn't get off to the start he hoped for, though. After walking Martin Prado with one out in the first inning, Freddie Freeman took a 2-2 fastball and drove it into the left-field stands to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead.
"His biggest mistake was to walk Prado on four pitches," Gibson said. "But after that he threw the ball like he did, he had Josh Collmenter innings."
In the third inning, Collmenter helped his own cause with a RBI groundout after Parra and Henry Blanco hit consecutive singles then executed a double steal to get into scoring position.
The D-backs nearly tied the game an inning later when Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt led off the frame with singles. But two batters later, Prado threw out Kubel at home off a Hill single to keep the score at 2-1.
Still trailing by one in the fifth, the D-backs caught a break when Uggla dropped a popup off the bat of Blanco, who was hustling on the play and reached second base.
Collmenter bunted the runner over to third and A.J. Pollock drove him in with a sacrifice fly for the first RBI of his career to tie the game at 2.
After not allowing a runner past second base for four straight innings, Collmenter faced his undoing in the sixth, but said he saw signs of his old self from last season.
"I got back to what I was doing," he said. "I finally felt really comfortable on the mound. I felt like I was throwing the ball like I always had, not forcing anything. I was throwing it, not trying to guide it. I'll continue to work on it through my bullpen and on to the next start."
Freeman tacked on his second homer of the night, a two-run bomb off of Miley, in the seventh, and Atlanta added three more runs in the eighth.