D-backs notebook: Offense finds its stroke
The Diamondbacks broke out of a mini-offensive slump with another three-homer game Thursday, avoiding a three-game sweep in Texas in the process.
After scoring only one run in the first two games of the series, the D-backs blew open an 11-3 victory with a five-run sixth inning, which was capped by Gerardo Parra’s three-run homer.
Parra has been a major contributor in the D-backs’ four three-homer games in their last 10 — June 3 at San Diego, June 5 against Colorado and June 8 against Oakland, all victories. Parra and Jason Kubel had three home runs apiece in those four games. Because Kubel was used as the designated hitter in the interleague road series in Texas, both started all three games against the Rangers.
Kubel’s two-run homer in the second inning Thursday gave right-hander Daniel Hudson a 2-1 lead he never relinquished, and Miguel Montero capped the scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth. Lyle Overbay almost hit another, his two-run double in the fifth hitting the left-center-field fence on the fly.
Montero and Paul Goldschmidt also homered in San Diego, and Aaron Hill joined Parra and Kubel in homering against Colorado. Kubel, Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts homered against Oakland. Montero has four homers in his last eight games. Parra, forced into a reserve role in National League games, has three homers in his last seven starts.
The D-backs had shown signs of breaking out of a season-long offensive funk by scoring 37 runs in a five-game winning streak entering the series with the Rangers, but they scored only on Montero’s home run in a 9-1 loss Tuesday and were shut out 1-0 Wednesday.
That home run by Montero on Thursday was measured at 447 feet by hittrackeronline.com. His grand slam last Saturday was said to have traveled 458 feet.
— SS Willie Bloomquist has reached safely via hit or walk in his last 21 games after he singled in the D-backs’ five-run sixth inning Thursday. Bloomquist doubled in the first two games of the series, and he has 12 doubles this season, surpassing his totals from each of the past six years. Bloomquist has 12 doubles in 194 at-bats this year after getting 10 in 350 at-bats in his first season with the D-backs in 2011. His career high is 15, set in 249 at-bats with Seattle in 2005, when he hit .257 with 14 stolen bases and was named the winner of the Unsung Hero award as presented by the Seattle chapter of the BBWAA.
— RHP Daniel Hudson gave up a run in the first but got out of the inning and retired 16 of the next 17 batters until a leadoff hit in the seventh. He gave up three runs on five hits, and the Rangers did not score again until LF David Murphy’s two-out homer in the seventh inning in a 9-1 game. “He kept it together there,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He stayed in the game plan, kept them off balance, did a good job of shutting them down.”
— C Miguel Montero has three home runs in his past 13 at-bats after capping the scoring in the D-backs’ 11-3 victory over Texas on Thursday with a two-run homer in the ninth inning. Montero accounted for the only D-backs run in the first two games of the series with a solo homer in the eighth inning Tuesday, and his grand slam against Oakland capped a five-run sixth inning for a 6-1 lead Saturday. Montero has 32 RBIs, tied for third among NL catchers.
— LHP Wade Miley has walked only one of the last 97 batters he has faced over all or parts of four starts, but the one walk came back to hurt him Wednesday. Texas 1B Mike Napoli walked on a 3-2 pitch and scored with two outs in the eighth inning of the Rangers’ 1-0 victory. Miley (7-3) had not walked a batter since pitching around Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks with a runner on second base in the third inning of an 8-5 victory on May 26. Miley went 7 1/3 innings without a walk in a 7-1 loss to San Diego on June 1 and did not walk a batter in eight innings of a 6-1 victory over Colorado on June 6.
— The D-backs have won only one of eight series against the Rangers in their infrequent meetings in interleague play, that in 2000. After playing five series from 1998-2000, the D-backs’ first three seasons, the teams have met only three times since. The D-backs are 8-15 against the Rangers in their history after winning the final game of a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington that concluded Thursday.
BY THE NUMBERS
4-0 — RHP Daniel Hudson’s career record in interleague starts after he won his first career start against the Rangers on Thursday.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Mechanics are the same every single time — that’s what we strive for.” — RHP Daniel Hudson, who recovered from a career-worst 1 2/3-inning start June 8 to beat the Rangers on Thursday, retiring 16 of 17 in one stretch.