For one night at least, the 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks looked a lot like their brethren from last summer. Solid starting pitching. Clutch hitting. Late taking of a lead. Bullpen shutting the door. That's a recipe for success in a lot of baseball games but it only works with the right ingredients.
Chris Young, back for the first time since going on the DL after an April 17 meeting with the wall, was the missing piece. Maybe.
Young had a ridiculous start to the season going (.410 BA, 1.397 OPS) before a spectacular catch injured his right shoulder. In his first game back he was "relegated" to the DH role (which must have killed the defensive stud) against the AL Kansas City Royals. All he did was line drive a double that plated the tying and go-ahead run in the sixth inning.
Perhaps even more encouraging, middle of the order guys Miguel Montero and Justin Upton seemed
buoyed calmed Young's presence.
Montero wasn't over-swinging at every pitch and as a result "gently" drove a ball to the opposite field that gave the D-backs the two-run margin of victory. Upton went 2-3 with a walk and scored three of his team's six runs.
On the mound, Joe Saunders bounced back from a couple of bad outings to give his team what they'd come to expect.
We knew he wasn't the guy who had a .090 ERA in April and we also know he isn't the guy who gave up 13 runs in his last two starts. Instead, Joe gave up eight hits but only three runs in his six innings. It was a very Saunders-like start which is exactly what his team needed.
Sure, Brad Ziegler gave up game-tying run in the seventh that cost Joe a win, but a glimpse of the late-inning heroics we were spoiled by last summer quickly got two back of the aforementioned Montero double.
Craig Breslow and J.J Putz finished off the Royals night.
Ian Kennedy faced Bruce Chen on Saturday in Kansas City.
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