video thumbnail

Young's two-run blast puts D-backs up three

PHOENIX -- Chris Young is staying cool.

Joe Saunders refuses to call himself a veteran, even after eight years in the big leagues, and still refers to teammates past and present as "Mr."

Together, the pair combined to lead the D-backs to a 5-1 victory against the Pirates at Chase Field on Monday night, but both spoke with humility following the club's second win in a row.

Both are all too familiar with the ups and downs that come with a long season, and modesty is the best policy, especially 10 games in.

"I'm pretty confident, but you stay humble in this game," Young said. "By no means is it easy for me right now. You're not going to go 3-for-4 every night, baseball will catch you if you get too big-headed, I've learned that. You put your work in, you don't get too high and not too low."

Young finished 3-for-4 with his fifth home run of the season and two more RBIs to increase his season total to 13. Saunders got off to a shaky start but gave up only one run in seven solid innings. He struck out five and walked two batters.

"The first inning was a little dicey, I fell behind hitters and they made me pay for it," Saunders said. "I told myself to get the ball in the strike zone, and I thought I did that pretty well in the middle innings. I tried to really keep the bullpen out of the game as long as I could."

Young is hitting .405 this season and is off to another hot start. Last season, he hit .302 with 10 RBIs and three home runs in the first 10 games of the season. During the same span in 2010, he hit .325 with 15 RBIs and three home runs.

The D-backs might be more concerned with how he finishes the season.

He hit .193 after the All-Star break with four home runs and 21 RBIs last season and .246 with 12 home runs and 30 RBIs after the break in 2010.

"He's swinging the bat good," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think he's been in stretches like this before. We want to see if he can consistently do it. "

As for Saunders, he had a 7.98 ERA in 14 2/3 innings during Spring Training and broke camp as the club's fifth starter. Undeterred, he still threw seven scoreless in a no-decision against the Padres in his first start of the season.

"He is a veteran, he needed some extra time, and we gave him an extra time to get work done," Gibson said. "He's a guy that is notoriously slow, or he has been for us, and that's one of the reason we moved him back to give him more time."

The left-hander gave up three consecutive singles with two outs in the first inning, the last an RBI by Neil Walker to put the Pirates ahead, but Saunders settled down quickly. He allowed only three hits in the six innings that followed.

Trailing, 1-0, the D-backs tied the game in the bottom of the first on a home run by Aaron Hill off Pittsburgh starter Erik Bedard. The D-backs tacked on an RBI single by Ryan Roberts in the fourth and a pair of runs on a homer by Young in the sixth.

David Hernandez and Brad Ziegler pitched the final two innings for the D-backs to secure the victory.

"[Saunders] seems to have the knack of not letting innings or games get away from him," Pittsburgh first baseman Casey McGehee said. "You might get one or two, but he's pretty good at minimizing the damage and keeping his team in games."

Gerardo Parra's pinch-hit home run to start the bottom of the seventh inning accounted for the D-backs' final run.

"It's definitely nice as a starting pitcher to know if you give up a run in the first, you're not going to lose the game, especially the way our offense and Mr. Young is swinging the bat," Saunders said. "We've been doing the little things." Comments