video thumbnail

STL@ARI: Upton belts a tape-measure three-run shot

PHOENIX -- Back and forth the D-backs and Cardinals went Tuesday night in a slugfest at Chase Field that saw the two teams combine for 30 hits, six of which were homers.

Finally, with a four-run sixth inning, the D-backs delivered the knockout blow in a 13-8 win in front of 16,645.

"It was like a toe-to-toe game," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who was not around to see the end after being ejected in the third inning. "It was one of those nights offensively for both teams."

Or as D-backs starter Armando Galarraga said, "It was not a good day for pitching."

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter came into the game with a 4-0 record in 10 career starts against the D-backs, but Arizona had his number from the beginning as it built an 8-3 lead and chased Carpenter after four innings.

"We faced a pretty good pitcher in Carpenter and we hit him pretty good today," catcher Miguel Montero said. "He worked behind in the count too much, so we took advantage of 2-0 counts, 1-0 counts. He had to come out over the plate, and we didn't miss those pitches."

The biggest blow against Carpenter came off the bat of Justin Upton.

The D-backs' right fielder hit a two-out, three-run homer in the second inning that landed just in front of the Fatburger restaurant well beyond the left-field wall. The blast traveled 478 feet, according to the ESPN Stats and Info Group, the longest in the Majors this season and the sixth longest at Chase Field.

"Just a fastball out over the plate and I put a good swing on it," Upton said.

"I'm making good pitches, but they're getting hits," a frustrated Carpenter said. "Then I spin one in to Upton and he hits it 500 feet. That's just the way it works. I made some good pitches. I made some bad ones. No matter what I threw in there, they hit it, is the bottom line."

The Cardinals, though, showed some resiliency as they scored a pair of runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to pull within 9-8.

"Give St. Louis credit," Gibson said. "They were down that whole game and they kept coming and coming. They pressured us very hard."

In the bottom half of sixth, the D-backs answered the challenge with a four-run rally that was highlighted by Juan Miranda's pinch-hit, three-run homer to right-center off Bryan Augenstein.

Setup man David Hernandez then came on and pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth before turning things over to closer J.J. Putz in the ninth.

"David Hernandez came in for two innings and kind of put a stop to all the nonsense," Gibson said. "That was huge. He threw the ball about as good as he's thrown the ball since he's been with us."

After the game, the talk was about fireworks -- both the offensive ones and the heated exchange between home-plate umpire Bob Davidson and Gibson that resulted in Gibson's first ejection as a manager.

"We disagreed, obviously," said Gibson, who was arguing a check-swing call on Montero. "I'm not going to get into what was said or why. I think it's fairly obvious. Probably smarter not to talk about it."

Galarraga (2-0) barely was able to hold on for the win. The right-hander almost did not get through the requisite five innings, but managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and left after throwing 99 pitches.

It may not have been a pretty win, but in Gibson's mind it is a step in the direction he wants to take his team.

"We are going to get better at dealing with the pressure and these kind of games I think they help with that process," Gibson said.

Said Montero, "It's big, it's huge, we kept fighting."

MLB.com Comments