Young's amazing day not enough
Center fielder hits three home runs in loss to Rockies
DENVER -- On a day when most players on the field seemed content to walk around the park -- the D-backs and Rockies combined for 21 free passes on 19 walks and two hit batters -- Chris Young chose to run multiple laps around the bases, logging 1,080 feet on a career-high three round-trippers that made for most of Arizona's highlights Sunday.But even with a fourth home run by Mark Reynolds, the D-backs couldn't avoid the sweep as they fell, 13-5, to the Rockies, who extended their National League Wild Card lead to two games. Arizona starter Yusmeiro Petit lasted only three innings and gave up six runs on four hits and four walks in what would end up being a 10-walk day for the D-backs' pitching staff. "In this ballpark, if you walk guys, it's a recipe for disaster," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "On the flip side, when you get as many free passes as we got, not to come away with more runs than we did is poor. It was pretty mediocre baseball today." The damage began in the first frame. Petit walked the leadoff hitter before giving up a two-run homer over the right-field scoreboard to Seth Smith. It was the first of Smith's two dingers on the day. Smith was a one-man D-backs killer, going 9-for-13 with three homers, four doubles and nine RBIs during the three-game series. After recording two outs in the first, Petit walked Brad Hawpe. He then yielded his second two-run dinger in the inning to Ian Stewart. Arizona got on the scoreboard when Young launched a towering drive into the left-field bleachers to lead off the second. However, with two outs in the third, Justin Upton drove a ball to the center-field wall that he thought was going for a home run. He began his trot, but when the ball stayed in the park, Upton was held to a 400-foot single. Hinch benched him after the at-bat, sending Alex Romero out to right field in the bottom of the inning. "The punishment fits the crime," Hinch said. "Part of what we do is our style of play, and the expectation of a high standard that we hold ourselves to, so what he did was intolerable. That's not malicious. It's a poor mental error that resulted in him not playing any more. It is what it is. It's too bad, because it hurts our team when he comes out of the lineup." The Rockies took advantage of Petit's command issues in the third, earning two walks before Yorvit Torrealba plated both runners with a double down the left-field line. All four of Petit's walks in his three innings came around to score. Young connected on his second dinger to lead off the sixth, driving the ball over the center-field fence. The Arizona center fielder went deep to left again in the eighth, giving him 10 homers on the season. "I got some pitches to hit tonight," Young said. "I got ahead in the count pretty much every at bat [in which] I had a homer, and they had to come in the zone and at least throw a good pitch. They were leading by quite a few runs, so you don't want to walk a guy in that situation. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunity." The Rockies were unable to retire Young all day, and he had a shot to tie the Major League record in his final at-bat. Facing reliever Matt Herges in the ninth inning down by eight runs, Young was ready to hit one over the fence for a fourth time. "The first couple just kind of happened," Young said. "I've had games where I've had two home runs before. Three, I've never done before, so it was a different feel for me walking to the plate [in the ninth] that I haven't felt before. I tried to make the best of it. "It feels better if you get the win, no doubt, but it was fun," he added. "[There was] anticipation when my final at bat came up. Herges was kind of talking to me, saying I'm not going to hit a homer off him. He threw me some fastballs, and actually gave me a chance to go for it. That's a lot of respect, and I appreciate that from him." Young drew his second walk of the game in his final at-bat, and he ended up 6-for-11 in the series, but the fact he had three home runs and only three RBIs is indicative of the challenge the D-backs have had stringing hits together of late.
They stranded seven runners in scoring position Sunday, and the only run not scored by solo home run came when Chad Tracy was hit by a pitch in the eighth and then doubled home by Ryan Roberts.
To hit four home runs and earn 10 free passes and only score five runs is "almost impossible to do," as Hinch said it, and Young's career day aside, it's a day the D-backs won't mind forgetting quickly."We're a tired bunch, but that's not an excuse," Hinch said. "It's been a rough road trip. We haven't managed to do our job offensively. When we get streaky like this, we tend to press with runners in scoring position, and the at-bats get over in a hurry. Rather than either wait out and get a good pitch, we err on the side of being over-aggressive. When we do that, it's not productive. "But, then again, if we get hits in those situations where you jump over a good pitch, it's a little bit of a double-edged sword there. So you want selective aggressiveness; you just want to make sure it's the pitch you're looking for. If we're getting the pitch we're looking for and not doing damage with it, that's not good."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.