Photography: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The D-backs picked up their first series win of the season, taking two out of three against the defending NL Central Champs, the Cincinnati Reds.
With a full count and two outs, Chris Young hit a three-run, go-ahead home run off Reds reliever Nick Masset in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The D-backs trailed 5-1 early, but Stephen Drew got things going with a ground-rule double in the third, and then the team broke things open with a five-run sixth.
Ryan Roberts provided the big hit in that frame, launching a three-run homer to left-center field to cap off a five-run sixth inning that gave the D-backs their first lead of the game.
Roberts grabbed one of the final roster spots after staying red hot through Spring Training while fellow utility infielder Geoff Blum had an injury that necessitated a DL stint. Roberts has taken advantage of the opportunity, going deep twice and reaching base safely seven times in his first five games.
Hudson brilliant in first Chase Field start
On Saturday night, Daniel Hudson bounced back from a shaky first inning to hurl seven solid innings in his first home start of 2011.
“I battled (with) my command a little bit in the first inning,” Hudson said. “I was throwing a little bit too much across my body, left a couple pitches up, but other than that felt good.”
The Reds managed to put two runs on the board in the opening frame, but that’s all they would muster through the rest of his outing. Hudson cruised, allowing only one hit after the first inning. He set the Reds down in order in the second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Hudson went out with a bang in the seventh, striking out Jonny Gomes, Jay Bruce and Ryan Hanigan.
“(I was) really getting locked in with my arm slot. Staying on top of the ball and driving down hill is the biggest adjustment I had to make,” Hudson said.
In his seven innings of work, Hudson scattered three hits, allowed just two runs, and struck out eight batters. He even lined a single to left field in a fifth inning at-bat, giving Hudson a three-game hitting streak.
Saturday’s outing was Hudson’s 13th consecutive quality start, which tied him with Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson for third place all time.
“He settled in nice,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “Seven innings, gave up three hits, walked a couple, but he got stronger as the game went on for sure. He certainly did his job.”
Branyan makes Chase Field debut
In the D-backs’ second home game of the season, newcomer Russell Branyan received the starting nod at first base on Saturday. It was his second start of the season, the other being against the Cubs on April 4.
The slugger won a roster spot after an outstanding Spring Training performance. That hot hitting has carried into the regular season as he raised his average to .444 with two more hits on Saturday.
Branyan flashed the leather in the opening inning when he corralled a Chris Young throw with the bases loaded and one out, then quickly gunned out Jonny Gomes at third base for the double play. In the ninth, Branyan hauled in a line drive off the bat of Drew Stubbs and stepped on first base to turn the unassisted double play.
In his second at-bat, Branyan rocketed a stand up double off the right field wall, his first of the season. Later in the eighth, Branyan smacked a 102 mph fastball from Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman into left field for a single.
“He’s tough,” Branyan said. “He’s a hard throwing lefty. You don’t see that many in the game.”
The streak continues for Montero
With his single to center field in the fourth inning Saturday night, Miguel Montero extended his season opening-hitting streak to seven games. Montero’s streak is the third-longest season opening streak in team history.
Montero is off to an incredible start to the season. He collected three hits in yesterday’s home opener, and is now hitting .500 this season. Montero got his first day off Sunday, with Henry Blanco drawing the start.
Willie Bloomquist has also strung together a hitting streak to start the season, hitting safely in seven straight games.