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Justin Upton has been hit by 19 pitches this season, the most in his career and tied for the most in the National League. Maybe pitchers are trying to rattle him. Maybe he's angered too many pitchers by admiring his home run balls. Maybe he's just unlucky.
In the first inning of Sunday's game against the San Francisco Giants, Upton took one from Tim Lincecum off the bill of his helmet in a glancing blow. Justin got up, dusted himself off and took his base. He would later score from second on a base hit.
After running from second base to home, he reported nausea and was removed from the game.
Team doctor Michael Lee said Upton passed all his neurological exams including a head CT scan and that they think he will be fine. Obviously, they will continue to monitor Justin and will administer an impact test on Monday and compare it to his baseline results.
Doctor Lee said nausea is a symptom of concussion or even more serious brain injury but the tests ruled that out and he recovered quickly and didn't even report having a head ache.
"Our concerns are on the lower side but we're going to watch him to make sure he's fine," Lee said.
Consider that bullet dodged. The D-backs could ill-afford to lose Upton heading into the playoffs. Upton is considered day-to-day.
In what is probably indicative of the culmination of the two teams’ seasons, the Arizona Diamondbacks completed a late-season sweep of NL West rival San Francisco Giants with a 5-2 win at Chase Field.
Josh Collmenter pitched seven strong innings and got the win to move to 10-10. He gave up two earned runs with four strikeouts and one walk. David Hernandez and J.J. Putz cleaned things up in the eighth and ninth innings, with Putz nabbing his forty-fifth save. Collmenter’s counterpart, Giants ace Tim Lincecum, was pummeled for five runs in five innings and fell to 13-14 in what has been a largely forgettable season marred by inconsistent outings and zero run support.
The damage on Lincecum started right away, with a two-run double from Miguel Montero in the first inning to score Aaron Hill and Justin Upton. Hill and Colin Cowgill each had RBI doubles, and Geoff Blum grounded out to allow Hill to score again.
The sweep was the first time since 2008 that the D-backs had done so against the Giants. With San Francisco out of the playoff picture, Arizona is trying to secure first-round home field advantage, but they trail the Milwaukee Brewers, who beat Florida Marlins on Sunday afternoon, by one game.
For more Diamondbacks coverage, head over to AZ Snake Pit.
Any concern that the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to have a let down or perhaps suffer hangover effects from their celebration the previous night were quickly nullified. The D-backs pounced on the Giants in the first inning and knocked San Francisco starter Eric Surkamp out of the game before the frame was over.
The offensive explosion spotted Ian Kennedy to a 6-1 lead which was far more than he needed to carry the team to a leisurely victory. Kennedy finished with five hits and two runs allowed six innings of work. Kennedy added his own bat to the party with a two-run double.
The scoring kicked off with a Ryan Roberts single which plated two of the three runners who had walked ahead of him. It was all down hill from there for a Giants pitching staff that played like their season is over...which is pretty much is.
The Diamondbacks rout was led by Gerardo Parra's four RBI night with Roberts knocking in three. Parra got the start in right field in place of Justin Upton who was given the day off. Catcher Henry Blanco also say action in place of Miguel Montero and contributed an RBI triple to the cause.
The Diamondbacks remain one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the race for home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The game was delayed for almost 30 minutes in the seventh inning when the lights at Chase Field went out.
Josh Collmenter pitches for Arizona on Sunday to wrap up the series with the Giants.
Arizona Diamondbacks star prospect Jarrod Parker will make his first Major League start on Tuesday, according to an announcement from the team. Parker was drafted ninth-overall in 2007 by the D-backs.
Parker suffered a set back in 2009 when he underwent Tommy John ligament surgery on his throwing elbow. After rehabbing in 2010, Parker was healthy this summer and after an understandably slow start finished strong in Double-A Mobile.
Parker posted a 3.79 ERA in 130 innings pitched.
Kirk Gibson reported that the left the ball park at around 11:00 p.m. last night and went home with his family to, "this little place where I live." He was back in the office by 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning thinking through his plans and options for the rest of the season. Who gets rest? How to order the pitching rotation? How to compete for the vital home field advantage in the first round and still get guys some days off?
"How can we best try and win as many games and how can we best prepare for the playoffs...There's a lot going on, it's good stuff," said with a smile.
Justin Upton and Miguel Montero are first and third on the team in plate appearances and so it's those two All-Stars that will get Saturday off. It would be shocking if you don't see Chris Young, second on that list, get a rest day soon as well.
Gibby wouldn't tip his hand when it comes to changes to the pitching rotation but said that it is possible that young Jarrod Parker could get a start and he hinting at limiting the innings of his key guys.
The lineup for Saturday will be Bloomquist (SS), Hill (2B), Young (CF), Goldschmidt (1B), Roberts (3B), Parra (RF), Cowgill (LF), Blanco (C), Kennedy (P)
The Giants lineup is: Christian (CF), Fontenot (2B), Beltran (RF), Sandoval (3B), Pill (1B), Belt (LF), Sanchez (C), Crawford (SS), Surkamp (P)
Other Gibby thoughts:
With the final out of Friday night's 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, the party began.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, that pesky little team no one believed in, turned Chase Field upside down with a champagne-and-beer fest in the clubhouse and a celebration with fans and team officials on the diamond.
Players poured alcohol on each other. They hugged and posed for photos. They wiped away a few tears, a little sweat and whatever was splashed on their heads and faces in a scene no one there will soon forget.
It happened. In Phoenix. The Diamondbacks won a division title and 42,606 were there, finally getting their chance to go crazy in the seventh inning when Arizona tied the game at 1. Then came the heroics of the bottom of the eighth, featuring Paul Goldschmidt's huge triple, and then, J.J. Putz closing it out. And then the players and executives talked about all of it.
OF Chris Young, who doubled in the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning:
"It was a team effort. The fans showed up amazing tonight. They gave us the adrenaline we needed to come out with this one."
"We did (take care of business). A lot of people didn't think we could... we felt like we could get it done and I'm happy we were able to overcome some things. A couple of guys got hurt and we were able to overcome some obstacle. It's been amazing."
Owner Ken Kendrick, on thoughts of who the Diamondbacks play first in the playoffs:
"It doesn't matter to me just as long as we're there, and we are. And I'm thrilled about it. Very happy."
1B Paul Goldschmidt, who had the go-ahead RBI triple in the eighth inning:
"They'd been pitching around J-Up and Miggy, and it was just good timing for a hit and luckily it wasn't right at someone."
"It just feels good to win. It's been a blast. I don't think I can appreciate it like guys that have been in the league for a while. Getting here and getting that win, just glad we can do it for guys."
GM Kevin Towers
"We never let them (the Giants) catch us. Went in there, won those two out of three, that was probably the critical game, the last series we had with the Giants. We had that come-from-behind win and (took) the series from them... guys started really believing."
"We're dangerous late (in games). We kind of lull them to sleep early and late in the game the bats come out, and it's just exciting. Goldschmidt spent half the season in (AA) Mobile. To come up with a big hit like that, against arguably one of the greatest right-handed sliders (from reliever Sergio Romo) that there is in the game, pretty incredible."
"Our eyes are on the Brewers. We want to be able to hopefully play those first two playoff games at home.
(On manager Kirk Gibson): "I think it's pretty clear the respect that the players have for him. He's one of the most focused managers I've ever had, from the minute he steps foot in the clubhouse to the minute he leaves. It's all baseball and preparing for the night's game and that particular series. During some tough times he kept guys loose, that's the sign of a great leader. He put his thumb on their neck when we were winning to kind of keep them humble. He was a winner as a player and now he's proven he's a winner as a manager as well."
Pitcher Joe Saunders
"Everything this organization has been through the last couple of years, not winning a lot. I told C.Y. (Young) when I came over to Philly last year, 'This is for the birds, this losing stuff. I told him next year we're going to turn this thing around, we're going to win some ball games and sure enough, the team believes in itself and we believe in each other and that's the biggest thing."
"In spring training we lost a bunch of games, but we knew we were good."
"It was just a great honor to be out there in the first place...I didn't have my best stuff tonight but I got a lot of ground balls. Honestly, the defense was awesome behind me. We got a lot of clutch outs and big double plays."
"In order to be the best you've got to beat the best. We did that tonight. Hats off to them, they're an amazing club. It just goes to show how good we are and how good we can be so we're excited."
"You want to clinch on the first night, you don't want to wait around. For us to be able to do that is awesome."
OF Justin Upton
"We gave ourselves a chance. In spring training, everybody said we'd finish fourth or third or whatever, but we didn't believe that. For us to get to this point and to finish it off really proved the character of our team."
"It's a good mix in the clubhouse and our team goes about its business in a different way this year. I think that was the biggest thing. We came to the yard expecting to win every day and we pushed towards that every day."
"We want to open up in front of a big crowd like we did tonight and we're playing for home-field advantage. So we're looking forward to these next five games and pushing toward that home field advantage."
"Everybody counted us out from Day 1 so the pressure was off of us. In spring training we gave ourselves a chance, we believed in ourselves and that's all that matters."
Manager Kirk Gibson
"Last year, I remember I wrote it down on my card, 15,505 people. A lot of people that thought that was a slap in our face but I think it was just significant, it showed us how far we had fallen. Those people are all still here. There's some more people day by day and you guys know that I understand that the fans are the most important part of the game of baseball."
"This whole organization from when we started our organizational meetings, it's incredible how everybody knows that they are a part of it. It's not Kirk Gibson. It's not just Derrick Hall. It's not just Ken Kendrick or Kevin Towers, it's truly all of us. There's hundreds of thousands of people that are involved."
"We talked about the Diamondback Way. I think it's becoming more clear as the days go on...This (celebration) is part of it."
Much, much more celebration video available on the SB Nation Arizona YouTube Channel.
The Arizona Diamondbacks fittingly came from behind to beat the San Francisco Giants and win the 2011 National League West Division. It was a tight, playoff type game from beginning to end with clutch hits coming from Ryan Roberts and Paul Goldsmidt in the eighth inning.
Roberts wasn't supposed to make the team and Goldschmidt was a little known prospect in the spring and there they were winning the biggest game of the year.
The much maligned Joe Saunders wasn't brilliant by top standards but he was good enough to give his team a chance to win the game. Saunders gave up just one run, a fifth inning solo home run to Orlando Cabrera, and nine hits in seven innings of work. He gave up lead-off hits in five of his seven innings but he didn't give up any walks which helped him wiggle out of several jams and strand eight runners.
Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain was brilliant all the way until he wasn't.
In the seventh inning up 1-0 he walked Paul Goldschmidt -- the first walk of the game for either side -- and then Chris Young came up to the plate and calmly delivered a double to the base of the left-center wall. Goldschmidt hustled around from first as fast as his thick legs could carry him and beat the throw to tie the game.
In eighth, with the game tied 1-1, Ryan Roberts did what Ryan Roberts does and lead off with a single that he stretched into a double with the kind of aggressive base running that's led to numerous "dumb" outs this year. This time, he slide into second under the throw.
Aaron Hill laid down a beauty of a sac bunt to move Roberts over and the Giants walked Justin Upton and pulled Matt Cain from the game.
Javier Lopez came on in relief and got Miguel Montero to fly out to shallow center. His night ended and the ball went to Giants reliever Sergio Romo with two outs and runners on the corners.
That brought young Paul Goldschmidt to the plate with two outs and runners on the corners against a very tough pitcher. He fell behind two strikes and then etched his name further into D-backs' fans hearts with a line drive triple to right field to give Arizona a 3-1 lead.
For a young player just called up after the All-Star Break, Paul Goldschmidt has quite a few memorable hits in his short career.
J.J. Putz closed out the clinch in the ninth for his 44th save of the season with David Hernandez getting the win. Chris Young recorded the final out on a shallow fly ball to center.
More to follow...
For more on the D-backs big win, visit AZ Snake Pit.
The San Francisco Giants have made a change in their rotation, and will send Matt Cain to the hill game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The hosting D-backs will look to clinch the NL West division title with a win and will be relying on starting pitcher Joe Saunders to throw a solid game. After an off-day on Thursday, the Diamondbacks too reordered their rotation to put the veteran on the mound. Saunders is 12-12 this season, with a 3.66 ERA and 105 strikeouts.
The Diamondbacks need just one win in the next six games to seal the deal, and are expecting a big crowd as they look to get that win out of the way. If they can't get it done, the D-backs will put Ian Kennedy on the mound Saturday to try and close it out.
Here's how the Diamondbacks' starting lineup looks for Friday night:
This is it, folks. The D-backs need just one win in the next six games to win the division. Let's hope it comes Friday night with Joe Saunders going against young Eric Surkamp. Kennedy goes Saturday and Collmenter on Sunday.
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