Nothing like the Houston Astros to make an inconsistent team feel consistent for at least a little while. The Arizona Diamondbacks must be thrilled to be back home, where their bats have a little more jump and the runs come in bunches.
The Diamondbacks, led by outfielder Jason Kubel's three home runs and six RBIs, pounded the Astros 12-3 before 35,665 fans who got out of the dust storm that blew through Phoenix Saturday. Kubel's feat was the ninth time in D-backs history that an Arizona player hit three home runs in a game, and he became the seventh different player to do so.
Kubel, with homers in the first (two-run shot), fourth (three-run) and sixth (solo), fell one RBI short of his single-game career high of seven. Even though he admitted trying for a fourth homer in his final at-bat of the night (he said he got carried away), he raised his season home run total to 20 and his RBI total to 70, both tops on the club.
After his third home run, Kubel acknowledged the cheering crowd with a curtain call. He got a standing ovation leading off the bottom of the eighth inning at bat.
"He's feeling pretty good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Kubel. "He's had a great year so far. He loves the fastball, is seeing it good. He's got a very short stroke the way he sets up and gets the barrel (of the bat) through the ball."
Here's Kubel on his big night:
The Diamondbacks (46-48) scored five runs in the fourth inning. Aaron Hill and Willie Bloomquist also drove in runs in the inning. Bloomquist had three hits and drove in three runs for the game, raising his batting average to .304.
All-Star Wade Miley started the game and handcuffed the Astros (34-61) on one run on four hits in seven innings. Miley (11-5) struck out nine, giving way to Takashi Saito for his 2012 debut in the eighth.
Saito pitched an inning and allowed an unearned run, becoming the first player of Japanese descent to appear in a game for the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks failed to gain ground on the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants, but have scored 25 runs the past two days against the Astros.
Henry Blanco and Chris Young added run-scoring hits in the eighth inning as the D-backs poured it on until the end.
Third base umpire Kerwin Danley left the game early to attend to a personal matter, it was announced. The umpiring crew finished with three umps, the second-base guy (Doug Eddings) moving to third in place of Danley.