Sweet Win For Gibby's Fighting D-backs

Uh oh. The Diamondbacks are 5-2 in the month of August. They are winning games against bad teams (the Nationals) but are now up 2-0 in a series with the division-leading Padres as well.

Does it mean anything? Hell to the yes, as our friend Scott Howard likes to say.

This is a young team that just got a lot younger at the trade deadline, and for them to learn how to win and how it feels to play winning ball is a big deal when we look forward to next season.

It still all comes down to how the team spends the money saved from The Great Salary Dump of 2010, but in the meantime, there's a core group of players here who need to experience success and end their season on a high note. That's what the Padres did after their trade deadline blow up, and it paid off this season.

The goal is .500 ball through the end of the season.

Speaking of young, Chris Young, the hero of tonight's game, was asked in the clubhouse if he was feeling any kind of team turnaround.

 "Yeah, the game's getting played the right way. We're playing nine-inning games," he said. "We're playing 27 outs. Everybody's playing hard. We really want to win, no matter what position we're in in the standings. As a team you should have that fight about you."

As for tonight's thrilling victory that featured Young's lead-off and walk-off solo home runs, Gibby was pretty clear about his feelings: "That was sweet."

And just to be sure we all understood he repeated it. 

Yes, sir. That was indeed sweet.

The sweetness began with a four-run rally in the fourth inning that, when combined with Young's opening inning, opposite field bomb, gave the D-backs a 5-0 margin to work with.

Things got sketchy in the sixth when Rodrigo Lopez hit the 80-pitch mark and got himself into a jam that he couldn't get out of. A pair of singles from Tejada and Gonzalez, followed by a Ludwick double and another single from Headly and Lopez, chased him from the game.

He didn't seem too upset with his performance, and frankly a five-inning, three-earned run performance is about what you expect from a back-of-the-rotation guy. He did his thing.

The bullpen held it down for a couple of innings before getting to Heilman in the ninth. Coming into this game, he had tossed 10 1/3 scoreless innings, but he'd also worked the last four games.

"For me to ask him to do that and for him to do it, it was a great effort and it shows great character and it's only fitting that he got the win," Gibby said.

For his part, Heilman manned up: "I felt good. I've been able to do it before in the past. I had no problem doing it."

He gave up two solo shots in the ninth that tied the game and with a lot of the pen having been used already, the prospects of a successful extra-inning affair weren't looking good.

But Young came right back and did what players on winning teams do -- pick his teammates up.

Young didn't want to take credit, however, instead putting it back on the fans, of all people.

"You have 50,000 fans in the stands, and honestly, it's easy to get that adrenaline flowing," he said. "It's easy to play the game and the fans really brought the energy tonight. When you're out there in the field and you hear the screaming fans it definitely makes a difference for us. Pretty much the fans got us the win tonight."

Young talked about his "oppo" home run that started the game

"I think that's three, but who's counting ..." he said. "I just happened to be a little late and it goes to right field. By no means am I trying to guide it to right field. I'm not trying to hit it to right field, it's just going to happen every now and then.

"I've never been an oppo hitter and I don't plan on being an oppo hitter. My power's normally to center field, left-center. Left field sometimes. If I can hit through the middle of the field and make small adjustments to the right or left, I think that's where I need to be."

It wasn't enough for Young's bat to be the hero. His glove wanted in on the action as well.

In the seventh inning, Boyer and Noberto each walked a batter and Bobby Crosby, who got the start for Mark Reynolds (scrambled brains) at third, allowed a runner on with an error.

With the bases loaded, Ryan Ludwick hit a blast to right-center but Young turned and tracked it down to save the inning and most likely the game. At least two if not three runs would have scored had a mere mortal fielder been patrolling center tonight.

"He goes back on the ball as good as anybody in the game," Gibby said. "He has the ability, if you watch him, he'll turn around and take his eyes off the ball many times. He knows right where to go. I know when I was an outfielder I never took my eye off the ball but he has that ability. He's special out there."

Kind of reminds you of Steve Finley who always got a great jump and had that same ability to streak to the spot and make the grab.

Chris down-played it of course, "I just shifted over there a little bit. We're going to play Ludwick to pull and he was a little late on the fastball so I went over to that side a little bit and he hit pretty much right into the shift. Ball in the gap, you just turn and go. It was a catchable ball so it was what it was."

What it was, was a great game-saving catch.

The D-backs got a little lucky as well when Padre starter Clayton Richard was attempting the difficult "Intentional Walk Play" and air-mailed one to the backstop allowing a run to score and the runners to advance.

As Gibby said, "You don't expect things like that to happen so we had a little luck on our side tonight."

A little luck and a lot of guts. Nice win for the home team.

For more, visit AZ Snakepit. They had their fan night at the game today and are certainly thrilled with the outcome.


Back at it tomorrow for a 1:10 p.m. get-away game. Joe Saunders will face Mat Latos with the sweep on the line.

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