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07/23/08 3:03 AM ET
D-backs bats arise to best Cubs arms
Jackson, lucky Hudson lead way; Rauch, D'Antona contribute
By Mike Ritter / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Leave it to the Diamondbacks to snap out of their offensive slump against a team with one of the best pitching staffs in the National League. The D-backs broke out the bats Tuesday night against the Cubs, as they pulled away for a 9-2 victory at Chase Field. It was just the second time in over a month that the team scored nine runs in a game. The score was tight for the majority of the game, but in the seventh and eighth innings, the D-backs (50-50) ran away with six runs, putting the game out of reach. "We typically have a little trouble tacking on," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "It was good to see us put a few runs there at the end. It seems like for the better part of the season, if we have a little bit of a lead kind of after the fifth, we have a little trouble scoring afterward, so hopefully that's a theme." The D-backs gained a one-game advantage on the Dodgers, who lost in Colorado. Conor Jackson led the offensive charge for the D-backs with a 3-for-5 day. He finished just a triple shy of the cycle and had three RBIs, including a home run in the first inning. Orlando Hudson also had a solo home run in the seventh inning, his eighth of the season. Hudson had a scary moment in his final at-bat when he was hit on his left ankle by an 89-mph slider from Kevin Hart. Hudson had to be helped off the field, although X-rays showed no fracture or crack. He may be out of the lineup for Wednesday's series finale. "Beating [Cubs manager] Lou Piniella and those boys definitely made that ball that hit me a lot easier," Hudson said. Yusmeiro Petit was called upon for a spot start and gave the D-backs everything they could ask for and more. It was just his second start of the season, as he went five innings, giving up just one run on three hits, as he picked up the win. "He can pitch long relief, you can spot start him on the dime where he hasn't been stretched out and he can still give you 90 pitches and five innings in that fashion," Melvin said.
Melvin said Petit may even get another start, sending Micah Owings to the bullpen full-time.
"It's a little hard, because last year I did it a couple times and it's hard to make adjustments," Petit said through his translator, Miguel Montero. "This year I feel a little more comfortable. It's easier to make adjustments, and so far I've been feeling good about what I've done."
The D-backs' pitching staff has allowed just two runs on nine hits through the first two games of the series against a Cubs offense that ranks first in the National League in runs scored, run differential and on-base percentage.
"You never feel like five, six, seven or eight runs is enough against a team like that," Jackson said.
"It's a dangerous lineup one through eight," Melvin said. "We're proud of the fact that we're getting some outs. There's no doubt it's a loaded lineup."
The D-backs relief corps combined for four strong innings of relief from Leo Rosales, Chad Qualls, Tony Pena and newcomer Jon Rauch.
In Rauch's debut, he allowed an infield single to Kosuke Fukudome and had two strikeouts.
The only run allowed by the bullpen, which has recently struggled mightily up until this series, was an eighth-inning homer by Daryle Ward off Pena.
The D-backs also had a good return from infielder Jamie D'Antona, who was called up from Triple-A Tucson earlier in the day.
D'Antona sparked a four-run rally in the seventh when he led off the inning with a single in his first Major League at-bat.
"It's just something I've been waiting and hoping for for a long time, and it finally came true," D'Antona said. "It's nice to cap it off with a hit. I didn't even know what the heck was going on. I don't even know what pitch it was. I have no idea, I was just trying to find something to actually make contact with, and I did and found a hole."
|"Beating [Cubs manager] Lou Piniella and those boys definitely made that ball that hit me a lot easier."|
|-- Orlando Hudson|
Mike Ritter is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.