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CHC@ARI: Roberts ties the game with solo shot

PHOENIX -- Scuffling ballplayers love flips of the calendar, whether to a new year or to a new month. They like nothing better than clean slates, which imply fresh starts.

Arizona right-hander Daniel Hudson was one of those happy to leave April for May. There went the 1-4 record and 5.64 ERA. Here comes the Hudson who'd introduced himself in 2010 with 11 consecutive quality starts.

Hudson responded to May Day with seven dogged innings on Sunday, setting up the D-backs' 4-3 victory over the Cubs in front of 26,605 in Chase Field.

"I was just glad to get out of that first inning without giving up a run," said Hudson, who had allowed a total of 10 first-inning runs in his previous four starts.

But even turning the corner may not have saved Hudson without second baseman Kelly Johnson turning perfectly on a couple of double plays triggered by shortstop Stephen Drew.

Johnson called his role easy, thanks to the astounding accuracy of Drew's feeds.

"He's so smooth," Johnson said. "I know I'm going to get a good feed, so I can quickly think about what I have to do without having to worry about where the ball is going to be. I can think about what I'm going to do after I get the ball, not about getting the ball."

Those were the true keys to a ballgame teeming with assorted action. Two double plays off two grounders at opposite ends of a shortstop's range were both handled with shocking aplomb by Drew.

The second, on a ball hit up the middle off closer J.J. Putz by Jeff Baker with runners on first and third and one out in the ninth, ended the game.

But the first one, in the sixth, with the D-backs sitting on a 4-1 lead, the Cubs one baserunner away from having the tying run at bat ... you had to see it to not believe it.

"Huge. What a great play," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said, without being prompted, by way of opening his postgame comments. "Stephen's feed, Kelly's turn ... a fast runner."

Darwin Barney had led off with a single. Starlin Castro pulled Hudson's 0-and-2 pitch deep into the hole. Drew backhanded the ball on the lip of the grass -- about 35 feet off the left-field foul line -- zipped it to Johnson, whose throw to first baseman Juan Miranda was on time to double up a stunned Castro.

Castro, who plays the same position for Chicago, knew that wasn't a possible play. He threw up his arms into the air and yanked his helmet off a head he kept shaking all the way back into the first-base dugout.

Asked about Castro's reaction of disbelief, Johnson said with a smile, "Well, he should've run harder."

"That was huge," Hudson said of the play that helped him keep the Cubs to 1-for-12 with men on base. "I'm not a ground-ball pitcher anyway. That was just a great play and a great turn on a good runner."

The Cubs kept threatening -- and misfiring -- against Hudson's relief. David Hernandez pitched out of a jam of his own making in the eighth, then Putz did the same in the ninth to escape with his sixth consecutive save.

"We were in a lot of pressure," Gibson said, "but navigated through every time."

While the Cubs were making the least of their opportunities, the D-backs went the other way to answer the question, "How do you get outhit, 10-5, and win?"

Hudson allowed eight hits, working his way out of several jams to limit the damage to three runs as Arizona split the four-game series with Chicago.

Oh, like the Arizona pitchers who preceded him in the series, Hudson had his own Alfonso Soriano moment: Soriano drilled a leadoff double in the second and eventually scored on Carlos Pena's grounder for a 1-0 lead.

The D-backs, having tied it up on Ryan Roberts' homer in the bottom of the second, went to aggressive creativity in the fourth to snap the 1-1 draw and take a 4-1 lead over Cubs starter Casey Coleman.

Miguel Montero drew a leadoff walk and took third as Roberts singled for what would remain the three-run inning's only hit. Roberts broke for second as Coleman started to make his 1-and-1 pitch to Juan Miranda. The pitcher flinched toward Roberts' general direction, resulting in a balk that ushered home Montero with the lead run.

"You can force a balk like that. We've seen it happen to us," Johnson said. "It was a case of pushing things to make things happen."

Roberts took third on Miranda's line-out to right, inviting an intentional walk of Gerardo Parra to bring up Hudson -- who laid down such a perfect suicide squeeze bunt, it not only scored Roberts but everyone else was safe. Parra then stole third -- from where he eventually scored minutes later as Coleman punctuated the adventurous inning with a wild pitch.

"We made the most of our opportunities," Gibson said. "I want us to play aggressively when we can, push the issue somewhat. When it works, it helps, and aggressiveness got us runs today."

Geovany Soto's two-run double with one out in the seventh erased most of Hudson's 4-1 lead, but he responded by inducing consecutive comebackers from Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome to retire the side.

"We fed off their aggressiveness. They're a team really aggressive early in the count," Hudson said. "We feel like we could've easily won this series, but we're happy to get away with the split." Comments