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CHC@ARI: Upton's homer puts the D-backs on top early

PHOENIX -- Armando Galarraga went deep. But the Chicago Cubs, primarily Alfonso Soriano, went deeper.

The result for the D-backs on Friday night was a 4-2 loss to the Cubs, a bitter defeat for Galarraga in a young season previously characterized by bittersweet wins.

Galarraga entered this game with a good record (3-1) alongside a poor ERA (6.00), having benefitted from generous offensive support.

So Galarraga tendered arguably his sharpest overall performance, by the sheer numbers, going seven innings while allowing only six hits, two of which didn't leave the infield.

But three of them left the park. Two solo homers by Soriano and one by Geovany Soto accounted for all the runs off Galarraga.

Soriano's second blast, off a seemingly unhittable pitch and to snap a 2-2 game in the seventh inning, so stunned Galarraga that he had to "confront" his catcher to work off some steam.

He and Miguel Montero had a heated exchange which both later shrugged off as the product of competitive heat.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson had an even more pronounced so-what reaction.

"He pitched a great game. Big deal," Gibson replied when asked about the mid-game summit.

"Things happen. I wanted him to throw something offspeed, a change or slider," Montero said, alluding to the approach as Soriano led off the seventh inning. "Obviously, he wanted to throw something over the plate."

Soriano hit the pitch, the first one of the inning, over the fence in right-center.

Galarraga still can't believe it.

"Sometimes you have to give the batter credit. It was a real good pitch," Galarraga said. "Down, really down. I thought, 'Wow, he got me two times.' It was probably the best pitch of the night, I'm not kidding you."

The three Chicago homers trumped the one hit by Arizona's Justin Upton, mainly because you don't get extra credit for distance.

Upton followed a game-opening walk to Chris Young with his fifth homer, a smash halfway up the left-field pavilion, a drive estimated at 455 feet.

That's all the D-backs would get in six innings off Carlos Zambrano, who turned the ball over to three relievers to finish off his ninth straight win on the road.

"I settled down after that 'cheap' home run by Upton," Zambrano said. "I thought he had more pop than that."

The Cubs two-timed Galarraga to erase that 2-0 lead in the fifth, which Soriano and Soto led off with back-to-back homers. It was the eighth for Soriano, the second for Soto --- and the fifth for Arizona, the number of times its pitchers have been foils for back-to-back homers this season.

When Soriano provided his own version of back-to-back, with the first-pitch drive to lead off the seventh, the Cubs and Zambrano had a 3-2 lead to turn over to their bullpen.

"Give Zambrano credit, too," Gibson said. "He pitched a pretty good game himself. He's no slouch. He kept his composure and threw a good game for them."

Clearly, Gibson felt the D-backs had squandered their own guy's best.

"Galarraga was effective with his pitches. He controlled the [strike] zone," Gibson said.

Galarraga has now allowed 11 homers in 28 innings, an alarming pace which seems to irk him far more than his manager.

"That's a lot, and I'm concerned. But just to the point of needing to try to make better pitches," Galarraga said.

Gibson would have none of that line of questioning.

"C'mon," said the manager, "he pitched good enough to win. I have no problem with him. We didn't execute on the other side of the ball. We had our chances."

Arizona went 0-for-7 with men in scoring position. The Cubs, for that matter, were 0-for-4, resulting in a rarity of a six-run game without a solitary hit with a man in scoring position; the Cubs' fourth run scored on a forceout.

Fans in Venezuela might've relished this game even more than those in Chase Field. Galarraga and Zambrano hooked up in the relative novelty of an all-Venezuela pitchers' duel, and the D-backs right-hander was caught by Montero, another native of the South American country.

For the long haul, Galarraga and Montero are soul brothers, as well as countrymen.

"We're friends," the pitcher said. "We've already talked about it, and everything's fine. We're both competitive, and want to be on the same page. It's already over."

Galarraga can only hope the same about his abuse by Soriano: The Chicago outfielder is 5-for-9 lifetime off him, with three of the hits beng homers.

The latest had Galarraga muttering to himself.

"I went sidearm, down -- really down ... and he still hit it," Galarraga said. "I know he's a low-ball hitter, but ... "

Soriano turned that low ball into a low blow. Comments