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Phillies Get Phat On Saunders' Pitches, D-backs Lose 8-4

The hard luck continued for Joe Saunders on an otherwise lovely day for a midweek matinee game Wednesday at Chase Field. This time, Saunders created his own misfortune.

Sure, his Diamondbacks teammates haven't given him much run support, a trend that remained Wednesday. Saunders received one run of support in his 5.2 innings and had the seventh-lowest among NL starters entering the game.

Never mind the fact that Saunders was 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA against NL East opponents in six career starts. The Philadelphia Phillies figured him out fast, scoring four runs in the first two innings and never looking back in their 8-4 win.

"We had another rocky first inning. That's something that's plagued us all year," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Just unable to hit his spots. A little elevated early, especially, and they made us pay."

The Philly hitters took turns puling line shots to left field off the lefty Saunders. Each of the four hits in the first inning went to left, as did Shane Victorino's solo home run in the second. 

Asked what could cause first-inning problems, Gibson offered the following: "No I don't. I have theories but we'll discuss those internally."

Saunders (0-3) allowed six runs on 10 hits with eight strikeouts and failed to reach the seven-inning mark through five starts this season. He surrendered a two-run shot to Jimmy Rollins in the fifth as the Phils avoided a three-game sweep. 

There was hardly no stopping Placido Polanco, who was 4-for-5 with three runs scored. Ryan Howard, hitless until the top of the ninth, hit a bomb into the left-center outcropping off J.J. Putz to complete the scoring.

Chris Young, batting .204 going into the game and 2-for-17 in four previous games as leadoff man, broke his slump in a big way. Young belted a pair of home runs -- one in the sixth and another in the eighth -- his sixth and seventh of the season. That leads the club.

"I didn't feel like he was lost, didn't think he was really that far off," Gibson said of Young. "He got a hold of a couple (Wednesday) and it showed, so luck will turn for him."

Young recorded his ninth career two-home run game. The Diamondbacks (10-13) are 5-7 in their past 12 games, all of those decided by four runs or less.

The Diamondbacks trailed 6-3 in the seventh with Juan Gutierrez on the mound in relief. Gutierrez loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit batter, then walked in a run with two out on a borderline 3-2 pitch to Brian Schneider that could have been called a strike. 

Schneider entered the game after the top of the first inning when Carlos Ruiz left due to lower back tightness.

Cole Hamels got the win to move to 3-1 after lasting seven innings and allowing three runs on four hits.  He struck out eight for the NL East-leading Phillies (16-8).