SAN FRANCISCO -- D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler seems to have settled in just over one month since he was acquired from the A's.
Over his last six games, a span of 4 1/3 innings, Ziegler has not allowed a run or a walk, and more importantly for a reliever, he has stranded all eight of the runners he inherited.
In his first eight games, the sidearming right-hander allowed four of seven inherited runners to score and walked five batters in 8 2/3 innings.
Part of it was getting settled in with finding a place to live and all that comes with being uprooted suddenly.
Two bigger factors, though, were on-field ones. First there was pitching in the National League for the first time and second was trying to get acclimated to the way the D-backs coaching staff likes its pitchers to control the running game by varying times to the plate.
"The National League style of ball is different and it took a little getting used to," he said. "Hitters are more aggressive early in the count and it made a difference just in how I had to approach each at-bat."
As for the running game, Ziegler has picked that up a little better, and the staff sought to find a middle ground that worked for both parties.
"I feel like we're there now," he said.
Upton ejected in series finale vs. Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- D-backs outfielder Justin Upton was ejected in the fourth inning of Sunday's game with the Giants by home-plate umpire Brian Knight for arguing balls and strikes.
Upton was unhappy with a pitch earlier in the at-bat and also took issue with the called third-strike offering.
As Knight rung him up, Upton jumped into the air and had more to say as he headed back to the dugout. Knight watched him, and before Upton got to the top step of the dugout, he turned and said something more to Knight and held up two fingers. That's when Knight ejected him.
"To be honest with you, I was going to go back to the dugout and put my helmet down and my bat down and move on," Upton said. "But I felt something was being said to me from behind and I didn't agree with it. It's just a disagreement."
One he was hoping to put behind him after the D-backs' 4-1 victory.
"I don't have a problem with Brian," Upton said. "He's a good umpire. We had a disagreement. I thought a couple of pitches were questionable in that at-bat. It was a big situation. They're up one run, we've got a guy on with no outs. That's a situation where I want to be able to hit. I don't want the bat taken out of my hands. I felt like the bat was taken out of my hands. But we ended up winning the game. So I don't really care about it right now. I'll deal with whatever I have to deal with and we'll move on."
Manager Kirk Gibson hurried from the dugout, but he was not quick enough in reacting to save Upton from being ejected.
"He called him out on the pitch and they had words and he threw him out," Gibson said. "Happens. You guys saw it, I'm not going to comment, I'm not going to get in any trouble over it. You just got to deal with it, which we did."
Gibson was asked if he was disappointed Upton was thrown out as he was headed back to the dugout.
"What am I going to do about it?" he said. "What's the point? J-Up got thrown out. Diamondbacks win. End of story."
When he realized he had been ejected, Upton slammed his helmet to the ground and charged Knight. Gibson grabbed Upton as he got to Knight and marched him away.
It was the first ejection of Upton's career. Collin Cowgill replaced Upton in the lineup in left field with Gerardo Parra shifting to right.
At the time of the ejection, the D-backs trailed, 1-0, and Gibson was concerned when he heard chatter in the dugout that indicated his team might have been more focused on the ejection than the task at hand.
"You just kind of hear people get focused on the wrong thing, like maybe it was the umpire," Gibson said. "We've got to move beyond that, get our composure and make sure we played the game and keep it where it was and continue to grind it out. They did a great job of it. We could have lost our composure. I think it tells us a little something about ourselves when we're able to push on, keep the game tight and give ourselves a chance and put ourselves in a position to win."
D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall sent out a tweet just after the ejection.
"Umpires need to realize they are NOT the center of attention," the tweet said. "Tossing a MVP candidate in a pennant race for a call YOU blew is bush!"
Hurricane causes angst for McDonald
SAN FRANCISCO -- When it comes to baseball, John McDonald could not be happier.
The D-backs shortstop is relishing his opportunity to play in a pennant race after coming over with second baseman Aaron Hill from the Blue Jays a couple of weeks ago.
This past week, though, there were times McDonald wished he could be somewhere else.
McDonald's home, located about 30 minutes outside of Boston, was without power for a week as a result of Hurricane Irene, and his wife and two young children had to find another place to stay.
"It's hard," he said. "I wished I was closer so I could have been able to help her even for just a few hours with all that was going on."