Diamond in the rough: Gibson drives victory
D-backs enjoy four three-run innings in win over Dodgers
PHOENIX -- Kirk Gibson said managing his first Major League game felt like playing his first, taking that initial at-bat as a 22-year-old Tigers phenom more than three decades ago.
And it showed.
"I'm pretty exhausted right now," the now-53-year-old D-backs interim skipper said after his club's 12-5 victory, his first as a manager, before 23,155 at Chase Field on Friday night.
"It's been a good, long day."
How fitting that Gibson's first managerial victory came against the Dodgers.
That good, long day started with Gibson reliving joining Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers in 1988 and, much more recently, talking to his Arizona club about avenging seven consecutive losses this season against Los Angeles.
According to accounts of his pregame spiel -- Gibson declined to state specifics -- the fiery former player spoke of making offensive adjustments to cut down on strikeouts, being more aggressive on the basepaths and ignoring perceptions of their clubhouse cohesiveness.
Or lack thereof.
"I wanted them to know how I see it going, what our personality is going to be," Gibson said. "I don't know how good we'll be, but we want to to at least try and make every opportunity to defeat that beast that really wants us to give up on our goals."
Call it the one-game effect, but it appears Gibson's message got through. Friday, his team did whiff nine times (Adam LaRoche thrice) but also stole three bases and produced plenty of runs to offset Edwin Jackson's not-so-sharp follow-up to his 149-pitch no-hitter.
That all resulted in Arizona's first two-game winning streak since June 12-13 and it has now won four of its past seven games. The D-backs are trying to escape a hole that leaves them 11 1/2 games back of the second-place club they just beat.
"If we want to do something [in the standings], we have to be on a mission," said Chris Young, who went 3-for-5 to spur much of Friday's offense. "It's definitely a great step in the right direction, but by no means are we going to sit here and be satisfied with one win. We pretty much have to do this the rest of the year if we want to have a chance to win.
"Gibby has great intentions, and he has a plan. He wants to win ballgames, and we're going to do our part."
Seven days after going above and beyond by tossing the franchise's second no-hitter, Jackson (6-6) battled through the Dodgers' Manny-less lineup -- Ramirez remains out with a right hamstring pull. Over five innings, in which the right-hander admittedly muffed around with mechanical issues, he allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks.
Easing the tension, Jackson pitched with a lead from start to finish.
Sparked by Young's game-starting single -- as part of the original Gibson-written lineup card, Young appeared in the leadoff spot for the first time since Oct. 1, 2009 -- the D-backs scored six times off of Hiroki Kuroda (7-6) in just 1 2/3 innings.
"I didn't have my split today and my slider was moving too fast," Kuroda explained. "I did what I could do, but it wasn't really my day."
Young plated two of the D-backs' three third-inning runs on a double to deep left-center field off Jeff Weaver and pounded a three-run home run, his 15th, off Justin Miller with the game already well in hand in the seventh. His five-RBI game tied a career-high.
"It was good for me tonight," said Young, who continued to brighten his hopes of an All-Star bid. "Our lineup, up and down, we have a lot of guys that can hit the ball and get on base, and it worked out good for us tonight."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.