04/28/09 1:24 AM ET
Haren does it all in D-backs' victory
Right-hander delivers complete game, hits two-run double
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
They had fun.
Maybe not coincidentally that led to something that had never happened this year -- a second consecutive win as they beat the Cubs, 7-2, behind Dan Haren's complete game.
It wasn't just that they won, but it was how they did it that was noteworthy. They ran the bases aggressively, swiping five bases and looking a lot like the 2007 version that won 90 games and had a good time doing it.
"I looked around in the seventh, eighth inning and guys were smiling on the bench and having fun," Haren said. "It's a feeling that I don't think we've really had the whole year, so I'm happy for the whole team and hopefully this gets us going."
If they get a pitching outing like the one Haren gave them, they certainly would be well on their way.
The right-hander gave up a leadoff homer to Alfonso Soriano on the game's third pitch and then allowed just two hits the rest of the way as he fanned 10 and did not walk a batter.
"They came out very aggressive," Haren said of the Cubs. "I could tell in the early innings they were swinging earlier in the count than most teams, so we adjusted our game plan. They were swinging early, several first-pitch outs and a lot of early-count outs, especially early in the game."
The quick outs allowed Haren to earn the seventh complete game of his career and his second in a D-backs uniform. It was the first time an Arizona pitcher had thrown a complete game this year.
"I had a good two-seam fastball that had more sink than usual and got some ground balls," Haren said. "I felt better as the game went along."
Haren's chance at a complete game almost was spoiled by Mike Fontenot, who worked a 12-pitch at-bat in the eighth that resulted in a solo homer.
"He fought off some great pitches," Haren said. "I mean, I threw him everything I had. I threw him fastballs, curveballs, cutters, splits, everything, and he fouled everything off. I felt comfortable throwing my breaking ball 3-2. I wanted to make sure I threw a strike. I didn't want to walk him, and he put a good swing on it."
Haren (2-3) was able to get out of the eighth relatively quickly after the Fontenot homer and finished the inning at 100 pitches.
"I really wanted to go out there for the ninth," Haren said.
Haren needed just 11 pitches to retire the Cubs in order in the ninth and did not seem close to being out of gas.
"I think it was a little better, a little crisper," Haren said of his stuff later in the game. "I got a better feel for the cut fastball as the game went along and I had a good split today. That's something I really haven't had all year."
Run support had been an issue for Haren in his first three starts of the year, as the D-backs managed to score just one, yes one, total run for him in those games.
On Monday, though, with the score tied 1-1, Haren helped his own cause in the fourth when he hit a chopper down the left-field line for a two-run double. Chris Young followed with a double of his own to score another two runs, and the D-backs were up, 5-1.
"I rolled over a slider down the middle," Haren said. "I've hit some balls real hard this year that have been outs actually and baseball evens itself out a lot of times, and that might be the case right there."
The D-backs still have a ways to go to even their record, but they at least showed some signs of life Monday.
"I think it was one of those things where we saw what we were capable of," said catcher Chris Snyder, who hit his first homer of the season in the third inning. "We just played. We weren't trying to look for that perfect pitch or that perfect opportunity. We just went out there and played. Guys were running around, executing, doing the small things and that's good. That's the way it was in the past and that's something we lost track of late last season. If that continues, hey, no telling."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.