PHOENIX — The only team in the major leagues not to be shut out this season, the Diamondbacks waited until the seventh inning to extend that streak in a 5-2 victory over the Padres on Friday.
The way it unfolded, it was worth the wait.
Miguel Montero opened the five-run seventh inning with a double, and he scored one pitch later when Martin Prado grounded a doubled inside the bag at first base to tie the score at 1-all, igniting a rally that included a run-scoring hits by Wil Nieves and A.J. Pollock and a two-run double by Paul Goldschmidt.
That Montero and Prado had a lot to do with turning the game around was perhaps the most promising development in a night that also included another quality start by Brandon McCarthy and Heath Bell’s seventh save as the D-backs (27-21) remained in a tie for first place with the Rockies in the NL West.
“We had contributions from a lot of guys,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
And if this is the game that kick-starts Montero and to a lesser extent Prado, all the better.
Montero’s double off Padres left-hander Eric Stults, which one-hopped into the San Diego bullpen in the right-field corner, opened the inning and ended a 6-for-46 skid. Prado’s double, on which his main intent was to move Montero as the tying run to third base, was his fifth hit with runners in scoring position in 43 at-bats this season.
Montero has been swinging the bat better of late, even if he has not had the results to show. He was robbed by of a second hit in the eighth Friday when Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko went behind second base to field his grounder, slid and threw him out at first.
“I felt good. Hopefully start a roll,” said Montero, who left the game with a .191 batting average, three home runs and 14 RBIs.
“Like I said before, I can’t make things happen in one game. So I need to get a streak going, get my hits every day. Then I’ll get one at least, and then two and three will come. You know that you can’t do everything in one game, but you are still trying to do everything in one game, you know? So you have to try to clear you mind and go and take it one at-bat at a time,” Montero said.
Montero’s resume indicates that the production will follow. Since 2009, Montero leads major league catchers with 108 doubles, is second with 269 RBIs and is third with 64 home runs. He has never hit less than .282 in the three seasons in which he has played at least 125 games.
“Miggy has been swinging the bat better,” Gibson said. “It’s a better approach. He’s been really trying to stay on the ball and kind of really evolving. He’s had better batting practice sessions and he’s been better in the cage.
“He just needs to relax, and I think he is starting to do that.”
It is now about regaining timing, said Montero, who had a two-hit game in Colorado on Monday.
“My timing has just been on and off, and I want to be consistent on it. My hands are good. My bat speed is good. I know I’m fouling off pitches that I’m not supposed to foul off, and what does that tell me? Probably that my timing is just a little bit late. So I need to start a little bit earlier. It is something I am working on. Hopefully we’ll see the results,” Montero said.
Pollock, who had three singles and drove in the run that made it 3-1 in the seventh, is unconcerned.
“Miggy did a good job of getting that double, and things started getting rolling from there. That was the big key, and then Prado getting that hit. That got things going. Sometimes little things like that kind of spark the team. That was huge,” Pollock said.
“Miggy and Prado are the two hitters when I go in the film room, I’m watching them to kind of model my swing after. That’s how good they are. Even when they are not getting their hits, they have great swings. They know how to hit. No one here is worried about them.”