Diamondbacks 4, Athletics 2

Arizona’s Chris Young was completely focused on getting a triple

to complete the first cycle of his career when he came up for his

last at-bat.

”But I decided to strike out on three pitches and look terrible

instead,” Young said with a grin.

Not much else went wrong for Young, who had three hits and four

RBIs, including a two-run homer, in the Diamondbacks’ 4-2 win over

the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.

Sparked by manager Kirk Gibson’s plea for Arizona’s offense to

produce runs early, Young had an RBI-single in the first and a

run-scoring double in the third before hitting his 16th home run of

the season in the fifth.

”His (batting practice) has been better and we’ve just been

waiting to see it come out of the sessions in the cage,” Gibson

said. ”He’s just learned to slow it down, let the ball come to him

and use his quick hands. He’s not a big guy … but he’s very

powerful.”

It didn’t hurt Arizona to have notorious Oakland nemesis Joe

Saunders on the mound.

Saunders (5-7) pitched seven-plus innings for Arizona, yielding

two runs and eight hits while improving to 12-4 with a 3.44 ERA in

18 career starts against Oakland. That’s his most wins against any

single team.

”I just like pitching here,” said Saunders, who used to play

for the Angels. ”There’s something about this ballpark that kind

of fits my eye. I didn’t have quite my A game but I made some big

pitches and the defense picked me up nice.”

Willie Bloomquist singled twice and scored, helping the

Diamondbacks to their second win in six games.

Scott Sizemore had two hits and an RBI for the A’s, who have

dropped seven of 10.

”They just did more with their hits than we did with ours,”

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.

Bloomquist and Kelly Johnson opened the game with back-to-back

singles against Josh Outman (3-3). Justin Upton then struck out

looking, but Young came through with a single to right.

Bloomquist wasn’t running at full speed when he rounded third

and had to hustle to barely beat the throw home from right fielder

David DeJesus.

Young, who has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, drove

in Johnson with a double just inside the third-base line in the

third.

After Outman retired the first two batters in the fifth, Upton

walked and Young followed with his two-run home run.

”Lately we’ve been struggling in the first four or five

innings,” Young said. ”Willie starting it off with a base hit was

nice. It’s good for the momentum especially when Joe’s pitching as

well as he is, to put a run on the board early for him is

nice.”

Outman (3-3) allowed seven hits and walked three in six

innings.

The offensive surge was all Saunders needed. David Hernandez,

working as the closer while J.J. Putz is on the disabled list,

pitched the ninth for his third save in four chances.

Saunders pitched with runners on base in all but one inning but

kept the damage to a minimum. He also started a 1-4-3 double play

in the seventh.

The A’s, who had a mini-surge of their own with nine runs in

their previous two games, hit into two double plays and left seven

runners on base.

Oakland chased Saunders when Adam Rosales walked and Jemile

Weeks singled to begin the eighth. Yhency Brazoban came in and was

called for a balk when he tried stopping his motion, then tossed

the ball to the ground.

Sizemore’s groundout drove in Rosales. After Coco Crisp struck

out looking, Hideki Matsui hit a soft single to right to score

Weeks. Chris Carter also singled before Brazoban struck out Conor

Jackson to end the inning.

NOTES: Diamondbacks LF Gerardo Parra appeared to jam his right

hand while making a sliding catch on Chris Carter’s fly ball in the

fourth but stayed in the game. … Arizona SS Stephen Drew was

given the day off but should be back in the lineup Sunday. …

Gibson is resisting moving RHP Josh Collmenter to the bullpen after

the rookie lost his fourth consecutive decision on Friday. ”I

don’t care what people think,” Gibson said. ”We’ll try to get him

on track. What he did early wasn’t a fluke. He just needs to make

quality pitches.” … Oakland OF Josh Willingham (Achilles’ tendon

strain) is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday but there

has been no timetable set for his return. … The game was delayed

briefly in the first inning when the grounds crew had to replace

second base.