Joe Saunders has now gone six or more innings in his last seven starts and hasn't given up more than four earned runs in any of those games. In other words, he's been all together solid. Saturday night in the Diamondbacks home black uniforms he stepped that up to another level. Saunders went seven scoreless innings and with only 93 pitches thrown was ready to come back out for the eighth inning before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Saunders threw 55 of his 93 pitches for strikes, walked two, struck out five and lowered his ERA to 4.32 on the season. Joe helped himself with two stellar defensive plays and got great support behind him from Stephen Drew who's work at short often goes overlooked.
Offensively, the D-backs hitters struggled with veteran Livan Hernandez but Drew tripled-in a run in the first inning and Xavier Nady's double in the seventh plated Chris Young for an insurance run that proved unnecessary. Livo's line was was solid seven innings, four hits, two earned runs, three strikeouts and four walks.
David Hernandez and J.J. Putz came in from the pen and provided their normal eighth and ninth inning shutdown show.
With the win and a Giants loss to the Rockies, Arizona regains first place in the NL West and improves to 18-4 since May 14. Ian Kennedy pitches on Sunday to close out the four-game set with the Nationals. The D-backs have won the last two after dropping the series-opener.