D-backs Sweep A's, Win Season-High Fifth Straight Game

The D-backs win earned them the sweep over the A's and gives them their longest winning streak of the season. Saunders pitched well and the offense did enough.

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Diamondbacks Beat A's 4-3, Earn Sweep And Season-High Five Game Winning Streak

The Arizona Diamondbacks are indeed on a roll. They won their season-high, fifth-straight game and are back at .500 (30-30) for the first time since May 5th. It wasn't a dominating win like the last two, but LHP Joe Saunders was solid through six innings and the offense did enough to get it done.

The D-backs struck first and early with a three-run first inning that featured a pair of one-out hits from Chris Young and Justin Upton, a walk from Paul Goldschmidt, and then an RBI from Jason Kubel on a ball hit to the second baseman, Jemile Weeks. Weeks fielded the ball cleanly, but shortstop Chad Pennington rushed the play to try and turn two and ended up with an error and no outs. Young scored on the play. With the bases still loaded and one out in the inning, Aaron Hill lined a single to left that plated Upton and Goldschmidt.

The D-backs have now scored 16 of their last 18 run off two-out hits.

The play of the game, however, goes to Young for heads up base running in the fifth frame that put him in position to score the game-winning fourth run.Young was on first with one out when Goldschmidt drove a ball to wall in deep right center. Young read the way Collin Cowgill was drifting away and was able to tag and advance to second. Jason Kubel drove him with (another) two-out hit.

"In general, you're not going to tag up on that play but he recognized what was going on and surprised Cowgill a little bit right there and got to second," Kirk Gibson said. "It was very alert. Good baseball."

The A's got to Saunders for two runs in the fourth with a pair of doubles from Jonny Gomes and Brandon Inge. Josh Donaldson then hit a single to left field. Jason Kubel's throw to the plate was in time, but Henry Blanco couldn't secure the ball on the tag. Blanco was charged with the error (a tough call) and Inge scored the A's second run.

Saunder's line was certainly good enough to earn the win. He went scattered seven hits over six innings with just two walks and five strike outs. The lefty was charged with one earned run, dropping his season ERA to 3.48.

Bryan Shaw allowed a run in the seventh but David Hernandez struck out the side in the eighth and J.J. Putz got the save (13) to finish the game. Paul Goldschmidt extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 with a single in the third. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch but was left stranded.

The D-backs are off Monday and then start a series in Texas against the Rangers on Tuesday. Ian Kennedy is scheduled to pitch but might miss his start if his wife goes into labor. Wade Miley would start in place of Kennedy if needed.

For more D-backs, visit AZ Snakepit.

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Stepehen Drew Puzzle Starts To Form; Gibson Tells Texas Retirement Tale

The Arizona Diamondbacks will go for the sweep of the Oakland A's on Sunday. A win would put them back at .500 for the first time since May 5 (14-14). It's an important win for the D-backs who are getting ready to head out on the road to face two hot AL teams in Texas and Anaheim. Joe Saunders (3-4, 3.65) faces Travis Blackley (0-1, 3.45).

Before the game on Sunday, manager Kirk Gibson talked about short stop Stephen Drew and his progress towards returning to the club. He also told an interesting tale of his retirement from baseball that came in Texas.

Drew puzzle

Stephen Drew is 3-9 (.333) with a home run and two RBI in his first two rehab games with the Triple-A Reno Aces. The plan, for now, is for Drew to travel with the Aces to Colorado for a three-game series. Beyond that, Gibson wouldn't say.

Eventually, Drew will be ready to come back which will create some tough decisions for the team that's been getting pretty consistent short stop play from Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald. Drew, who can't play any other position according to Gibby, probably won't be an everyday player when he first gets back but at some point he should be.

"I know he's made some exceptional plays already. We all know he can swing the bat. Stephen Drew is Stephen Drew. Come on, he's a very, very good ball player," Gibby said.

If I were to guess right now, the D-backs would drop Josh Bell and use McDonald or even Bloomquist as the back up third baseman while both would still likely get reps at short while Drew worked his way back to playing everyday.

Gibby didn't have those answers. Sunday was the first day he started thinking about how those pieces will fit together, "I don't have any answers yet. I generally think things through several times."

Texas retirement memories

The Arizona Diamondbacks head off to Arlington, TX for a series against the Rangers starting Tuesday. Arlington happens to be the place Kirk Gibson played his final major league game.

"That's the ballpark I retired in. The (visiting manager's) office I'll be sitting in is the office that I retired in. I walked in and talked to Sparky (Anderson) and I said, 'that's it.'"

Gibby retired in August 1995 after the Detroit Tigers traded away his friend and fellow veteran, David Wells. He'd been playing through considerable pain from a sports hernia at the time.

"It seemed to me that we were kind of cashing it in, and here I was could barley get out of bed everyday...I was just saying, 'why am I doing this, this is more than painful. What are we doing it for.' I wasn't going to stand there and take an opportunity from some young kid if that was the direction they were going in. That was fine. I went home."

Other Notes:

-- The D-backs brought in some lefties to throw batting practice about a month ago. They've been hitting better against southpaws since.

-- Gibby didn't have a specific answer for DH over the next two series in AL parks. It will depend on health, match ups and other factors.

For more on the D-backs, visit AZ Snakepit.

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Montero's Grand Slam Is "Force" For Diamondbacks In 8-3 Win Over A's

It was Star Wars Night At Chase Field, and the Force was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Apparently not so with the non-Jedi Oakland Athletics, who have found the Phoenix ballpark to be their Death Star in the first two games of the interleague series.

Miguel Montero's long drive over the pool deck and onto the concourse in right field flew away with the speed of an X-Wing fighter. Montero's bomb and former Oakland pitcher (and Star Wars fan) Trevor Cahill's pitching led Arizona to a 8-3 win, their fourth in a row.

That tied a season high for consecutive wins, which the D-backs (29-30) accomplished over the first four games of the season.

"We were scuffling five games ago, and we did a lot of talking about how we need to reverse it and kind of re-committed to ourselves and what we were doing. Tried to get rid of all the negative things around us," manager Kirk Gibson said.

Cahill, traded to Arizona in a five-player swap that included Parker last December, pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, striking out a season-high seven to improve to 4-5. Parker, who made his major-league debut for the Diamondbacks only last September, was done after five innings, allowing six runs on eight hits.

"I was throwing a lot of curve balls. Slider was a lot better, probably the best it's been in a long time," Cahill said, admitting he was more nervous than at any time this season because he was facing his friends from the A's. "Six years in the minor leagues and big leagues, so it was definitely more nerve-wracking."

Cahill got tired in the eighth inning.

"At the end, he was out of gas. Tried to get as much out of him as we could," Gibson said. "Just threw a great game for us."

Brad Ziegler, another former A's pitcher, finished up the eighth.

The Diamondbacks scored first when WIllie Bloomquist singled, stole second and came home on a fly ball single to right field by Jason Kubel.

Oakland tied it, Cahill walking Brandon Moss after striking out the first two hitters of the second inning. Kurt Suzuki grounded a double down the right field line to drive in Moss.

Kubel just missed a home run in the third, the ball sailing wide of the foul pole in right field. Montero just missed his former teammate, Parker, with piece of broken bat in the bottom of the fourth when Montero grounded up the middle to shortstop, the bat shard flying toward Parker on the mound.

Bloomquist has been one of the Diamondbacks' better hitters, and his second hit of the game came in the fifth, a line single to right. The runner on first, Gerardo Parra, wasn't fooled by Oakland second baseman Jemile Weeks pretending to catch the ball and flip to second, and Parra kept right on motoring to third base.

That gave the scuffling Justin Upton a chance to drive in a run in a key situation, and after Upton took a close pitch that didn't get called a strike, he ripped a hard double up the middle to drive in Parra and give the D-backs a 2-1 lead. Bloomquist took third.

Parker got a visit to the mound from another former D-back, manager Bob Melvin, and intentionally walked Kubel to load the bases. Up came Arizona's hottest hitter of late, Paul Goldschmidt, who worked the count full before striking out swinging, making Melvin's decision look like the right gamble.

For a moment. Montero still had a chance to keep the inning alive, and with two out, he went deep for his second career grand slam. Safe to say, he knew Parker's pitch selection well as one who caught him, and therefore had a slight advantage.

"It's nice. I had an opportunity and I didn't come through there," Goldschmidt said. "Miggy picked me up, so it's awesome."

"Pretty good with runners in scoring position," Gibson said of Montero. "Lot of pressure on him."

The A's couldn't come back from that, and the Diamondbacks sent a lot of fans and Star Wars geeks home happy. Especially after they added on two runs in the eight after Upton was intentionally walked and Kubel and Goldschmidt hit RBI singles. Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 16 games.

"I'm just going out and trying to get good swings," Goldschmidt said. "I've felt good the past couple of weeks, the past month."

Outfielder Chris Young wasn't in the lineup but will be in the starting nine Sunday.

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Stryker Trahan Takes BP With Diamondbacks

With their first-round draft pick in town with his family having agreed to terms with Diamondbacks, the club suited up the 18-year old catcher from Louisiana and let him take batting practice with the big-leaguers before Saturday's game against the Oakland A's.

After getting a few good cuts in, Trahan was swarmed by reporters. He said it was a "great feeling" and a "real honor" to be in the cage with the D-backs.

Trahan hit a home run into the pool deck and a got a cheer from teammates. He admitted being surprised that the Diamondbacks picked him.

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"It was awesome," he said. "I was in shock. The first thing I did was hug my parents and then hugged the rest of my family that was there."

Trahan's parents and younger sister made the trip out to Phoenix with him.

Trahan admitted he needs to work on his defensive skills as a catcher. He explained that he was named after a TV character portrayed by actor Burt Reynolds.

He had to take a moment to realize that he was getting dressed in the same clubhouse as big leaguers like Justin Upton and others.

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