08/31/11 3:10 AM ET
D-backs bash way to eighth straight win
By Anthony Fenech / MLB.com
Three hours too late.
Powered by an offensive outburst and another quality start, Arizona won its season-high eighth straight game in front of 20,231 fans at Chase Field as it beat the Rockies, 9-4.
"This is what winning teams do," catcher Miguel Montero said. "Get hits when they need to, and we've been able to do it all year, and I think that's the reason we're in first place right now."
But for the defending World Series champion Giants, who now face a six-game deficit in the National League West with just over a month to play, the fire alarm might have gone off too early.
The D-backs collected 14 hits, with three of those hits doing most of the damage, and Wade Miley kept doing what their starters have been doing all year while picking up his second consecutive victory.
"We need everybody to be able to contribute out there," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
But the start wasn't nearly as good as the finish.
After the Rockies jumped out to an early one-run lead when Miley walked leadoff batter Dexter Fowler, allowed him to score on a Todd Helton single and ran up his pitch count to nearly 30 pitches in the first inning, Gerardo Parra delivered the D-backs' first big blow of the night with one out in the third inning.
Ahead in the count, 1-0, against veteran right-hander Aaron Cook, Parra sliced a triple into the left-center-field gap and past Fowler to score two runs and give the D-backs a lead they wouldn't surrender.
The triple was the first of a career-high four hits for Parra, who finished a home run shy of the cycle.
"He showed a little bit of power tonight," Gibson said, "But he's playing exceptional for us; he's got a lot of ability and is one of many guys that have been playing very well."
It was followed by a run-scoring groundout from Justin Upton, who took what Cook gave him in a 3-0 count and pushed it to second base to score Parra for a 3-1 Arizona lead.
An inning later, Miley needed every bit of his limited Major League experience -- and then some -- to keep that lead.
After Miley allowed three singles to give back a run on a Chris Iannetta base hit, Cook laid down a bunt with runners on the corners and one out.
Miley bobbled it, Cook reached first base and pitching coach Charles Nagy wasn't long to reach the pitcher's mound to talk to his young starter.
"It was a stupid mistake," Miley said. "I was too much worried about the runner at third. I should have known he wasn't going, peek at him, and I just got all tangled up.
Miley responded by inducing flyouts from Fowler and Mark Ellis to end the threat and pitched a pair of scoreless innings to follow, exiting after a double play on a fly ball to center field ended the sixth.
The rookie left-hander pitched six innings, allowed two runs on nine hits, struck out three and walked one.
"It's kind of how he's been throwing," Gibson said. "He gets going a little fast, rushing, early in games and then he settled in. ... He ended up giving us six strong innings."
He was backed by a three-run home run from Montero in the fifth inning, a laser beam over the right-field wall, for Montero's 13th home run of the season and his 44th extra-base hit of the year.
The hit broke his own record for most extra-base hits in a season by a D-backs catcher and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
"He got me out in the first two at-bats with the same fastball in," Montero said. "I kind of jammed myself twice, so the third time through is the charm, right?"
Cook was chased a batter later, after walking Aaron Hill. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowed six runs on seven hits, struck out a season-high six and walked two.
"The bad pitches I made were unfortunately with runners on," Cook said. "When I get runners on base I need to take my time, make sure I get loaded and deliver my pitch, instead of trying to do too much."
Montero was leaned on heavily by Miley, who credited, along with Nagy, the D-backs' All-Star with navigating him through the tough fourth inning.
"I went with Miggy once again," Miley said. "Me and Miggy were on the same page. It makes things easier as a pitcher to go out, trust your catcher with everything he calls and just try to make a good pitch."
And while Montero's home run was more than enough for a pitching staff that continues to perform, Hill tacked on a run in the sixth with an RBI single -- his second of three hits -- and Upton hit his 26th home run of the season in monster fashion in the eighth.
Upton's home run came off right-handed reliever Matt Belisle, landed a handful of feet above the camera well in straightaway center and tied a career high, which he set in 2009.
"I have in the past," Upton said about clearing the camera well in center. "Not in a while though; that felt good."
The D-backs have outscored their opponents 42-10 during their eight-game winning streak, which is the franchise's longest since 2008.
"Everything is coming together great," Montero said. "We just have to try to play the same way all the time."
Anthony Fenech is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.