Pena's homer lifts D-backs to 6-4 win over Indians
Whoosh! He missed.
Figuring that Pena would keep swinging through those slow benders, Sipp offered up another breaking ball.
Whack! Over the fence.
Feeling more comfortable against breaking balls, Pena hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks recover after J.J. Putz's second straight shaky outing to beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4 Tuesday night.
''Everybody saw the first swing that I took, it was so hard because I was looking for a breaking pitch,'' Pena said. ''The second one, I said hey, let him bring it up. That's what he did and I was able to get it.''
Out of the big leagues for more than two years before being called up on June 21, Pena had hit a couple of mammoth homers, including one that went an estimated 454 feet against Detroit last week. But with the homers have come some wild swings, mostly on breaking pitches, leading to 11 strikeouts in 24 at-bats.
Relegated to pinch-hitting duties after spending some time as designated hitter, Pena waited for his turn and made the most of it, showing he can hit the breaking ball on occasion by lifting a line-drive homer off Sipp (3-1) over the wall in left that set off a wild celebration at the plate.
''The guy can swing the bat,'' said Arizona's Ryan Roberts, who did some pitcher-distracting dancing on third base after opening the ninth with a walk and two steals. ''He hits homers and he hits the ball a long way.''
The Diamondbacks needed it after Putz's latest ninth-inning struggles.
A .209 hitter coming in, Johnson hit a solo homer off Josh Tomlin in the sixth inning, a tiebreaking RBI single off Rafael Perez in the eighth and later scored on Justin Upton's run-scoring single, putting Arizona up 4-2 heading into the final inning.
Putz couldn't hold it.
The right-hander allowed a two-out homer to Orlando Cabrera in a 5-4 loss to the Indians on Monday night and was in trouble right off the bat Tuesday, walking Cabrera on four pitches to open the ninth. An out later, Carlos Santana tied the game with a towering, two-run homer that curled just inside the foul pole in right.
Putz left to a chorus of boos after giving up a two-out double to Travis Buck and was replaced by Alberto Castillo (1-0), who was brought up from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day.
Pena got Putz off the hook and gave Castillo the win after getting just one out with his big swing-and-connect against Cleveland's usually-reliable bullpen.
''We felt we have the advantage with the bullpen and maybe we can win by holding them and scoring a run, but give them credit,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''They got to our bullpen the whole night.''
It was relatively quiet before that, thanks to Hudson and Tomlin.
Hudson was solid for the ninth straight start, allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts.
Tomlin was just as good, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. The right-hander lasted five innings for the 28th straight game, matching the major league record to start a career, set by Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007.
But this wasn't just a battle of arms. The pitchers were wielding their bats, too.
Tomlin had his first career hit in the third inning, dropping down a sacrifice bunt that slipped past Hudson to the third base side. That set up Cleveland's first run, on a double-play grounder by Michael Brantley.
Tomlin went a more conventional route for his second career hit in the fifth inning, ripping a single up the middle for his first career RBI to put the Indians up 2-0. It also was the first RBI by an Indians pitcher since CC Sabathia against the Dodgers on June 21, 2008.
''I didn't go up there trying to do too much,'' Tomlin said. ''I was just trying not to look like an idiot.''
Hudson proved to be capable with the bat in the bottom half, fighting off a couple of pitches with two strikes, then lining a run-scoring double down the line in right to make it 2-1.
Johnson finally scored a run a pitcher had nothing to do with, lifting his 13th homer to left to tie it 2-all in the sixth, then helped put the Diamondbacks ahead in the eighth with a big hit for the second straight night.
Just like the night before, Putz couldn't come through after Johnson did, but Pena made sure Arizona walked away with a win on a homer that just cleared the wall.
''He made us all look good,'' Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.
NOTES: Diamondbacks hitting coach Don Baylor turned 62 on Tuesday. ... Indians CF Grady Sizemore was looked at by team trainers after slamming into the wall on Gerardo Parra's triple in the fifth inning, but remained in the game. ... Hudson is 3-0 in six career June starts.