ATLANTA -- Zack Godley knew better, but in the heat of the moment, the right-hander threw fastballs early in the count to a good fastball-hitting team and paid the price with his worst outing of the year as the D-backs fell, 7-1, to the Braves at SunTrust Park.
The Atlanta hitters jumped on Godley early in the count and early in the game with single runs in the first and second innings before a four-run outburst in the third and another run in the fourth.
"[Godley's stuff] just wasn't quite as sharp earlier in the game," D-backs catcher Jeff Mathis said. "He made some adjustments and started making some better pitches."
One of the things Godley did was stop trying to establish his fastball and instead use his breaking ball a little more often, especially early in counts.
"I threw pitches that they wanted to swing at and wanted to hit instead of pitches that I know I should have thrown," Godley said. "Their top four hitters are really good at first-pitch fastballs. I threw them first-pitch fastballs. I just tried to establish something that I shouldn't have, and they took advantage of that opportunity."
Matt Kemp hit a three-run homer in the third and Matt Adams added a solo shot later in the frame.
Kemp's homer came on a first-pitch fastball.
"I think he was making mistakes out over the plate against some hitters that were very fastball-conscious, and they made him pay for those mistakes," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think you eliminate a couple of those key moments at the wrong time and it's a totally different outing."
It was a rare poor start for Godley, who took over for the injured Shelby Miller in April and quickly became one of the team's most consistent pitchers.
In his 12 starts this year, Sunday was the first time he had allowed more than three runs.
There were some positives for Godley (3-4). He managed to settle in and give the team six innings, which saved a bullpen that was a reliever down after Randall Delgado was placed on the disabled list prior to the game.
"He did an unbelievable job in that regard just getting us to the sixth and saving those guys down there in the bullpen," Mathis said. "I'm definitely proud of him for that."
Godley also set a career high with nine strikeouts, four of which came in the final two innings of his outing.
"Just to be able to keep moving forward and build a little bit of confidence for myself and a save some of arms out of the bullpen, I think helps a lot," Godley said.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.