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04/29/09 8:50 PM ET
Bats come alive behind Davis' gem
Lefty holds down Cubs to end homestand on high note
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The nearly month-long homestand did not start how the D-backs would have liked it to, but it finished up on a better note. The D-backs blanked the Cubs, 10-0, on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field to capture their second series in their last three and head out on a 10-game road trip having won three of their last four. "Anytime you win a series, you feel good about your ballclub," first baseman Chad Tracy said. "I think it will be nice to get to Milwaukee, a little change of scenery, and try to keep the same approaches going." The approach the D-backs took was one of patience against Cubs pitchers who struggled to find the zone. Arizona wound up drawing a whopping 10 walks, including three with the bases loaded. "Today, we had some great at-bats," starter Doug Davis said. "It's good to see." On Tuesday, the D-backs let Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano off the hook by squandering a first-inning scoring opportunity, but on Wednesday, they did Ryan Dempster no such favor. Tracy keyed a three-run rally in the first with a two-run double. Davis (2-3) was the beneficiary of the support. The left-hander allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out seven in seven innings. It was hard to envision Davis sticking around for seven innings after he threw 50 pitches in the first two. "I was a little erratic," Davis said. "Three runs in the first eases that up a bit to where I can afford to make a mistake. I made my pitches when I had to." And after two innings, Davis adjusted as well. Knowing that the Cubs tend to swing early, he tried to be more aggressive early in counts. That paid off and allowed him to throw just eight pitches in the third and 12 each in the fourth and fifth. "I was able to get them swinging early the next couple of innings and even cut out the pitch count per inning a little bit," he said. "They are an aggressive team that will swing out of the zone as long as you get ahead." Tracy increased the Arizona lead to 4-0 with a homer to lead off the third, and that's the way things stayed until the seventh. That was when the Cubs' pitchers seemed to lose the feel for the strike zone completely. A leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts spelled the end of the day for Dempster and reliever Carlos Marmol proceeded to walk Felipe Lopez to put runners at first and second. Augie Ojeda then sacrificed them over and Chicago manager Lou Piniella intentionally walked Tracy to load the bases. Marmol followed the intentional walk with a pair of unintentional walks to Mark Reynolds and Conor Jackson to force in a pair of runs and put the D-backs up, 6-0. "That was big," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "Sometimes we score a few runs and kind of go into pause mode. We need to be able to add on some runs and take a little pressure off." And the D-backs were not done. Piniella again went to the 'pen, this time for Jeff Samardzija, who fanned Chris Young for the second out of the inning. Justin Upton, though, drove the dagger in with a three-run double to effectively put the game away. "You try to take a good at-bat and a good approach up there every time," Tracy said. "Sometimes they make good pitches, sometimes you don't execute. It seemed like today we were patient, we capitalized on some mistakes that they made and that's all Dougie needed. "Hitting is contagious. When you see the guy in front of you go up and square a ball up, that gives you a good feeling that this guy is hittable. I think guys are starting to feed off of each other." The D-backs hope the buffet continues in Milwaukee, where they open a four-game series on Thursday. The trip also includes two games each in Los Angeles and San Diego. Aside from three games in San Francisco, all of Arizona's games this month have been at home, where the D-backs were 8-10. "We didn't go through this stretch in the fashion we would have liked," Melvin said. "So I think everyone is looking forward to getting on the road."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.