PHOENIX -- The D-backs used their season-long formula of quality defense, stellar bullpen work and a dose of Chris Young stepping in as the hero of the day to clinch another series victory on Sunday. Young hit a pair of homers in the first two innings and drove in a season-high four runs in Arizona's 5-4 win over the Cubs at Chase Field, leading the D-backs to win their 10th series victory in their last 11 tries. He had plenty of help in making sure the lead stood up from a bullpen that threw five scoreless innings and quality defensive work at the end of the game to preserve the win. That made up for another shaky outing from starter Yusmeiro Petit.More
"Across the board contributions," manager Bob Melvin said of how his club took the game. "That's the way we have to win. We need contributions from a lot of people, whether it's big players, role players, guys we count on it the middle. That game the way we won today embodies how everybody here has to contribute." In this one, Young contributed more than anyone, starting the contest with his Major League-leading eighth leadoff homer of the season. Melvin said that shot helped get his club back into the game spirit-wise after Petit allowed three runs in the top of the first. "When you do that, it counts more than one," Melvin said. "It's more than a solo homer for me." Young topped that effort by delivering a three-run homer in the second, giving him nine long balls in his past 12 games, with that shot being his first homer not of the solo variety during this stretch. It also marked his third multi-homer game during this hot streak. "I finally actually hit a home run with some people on base," Young said. "It was a good day to come through offensively." The center fielder finished the homestand hitting only .167 (4-for-24) but all four of those hits left the yard. Young also homered for the second and third times off Cubs atarter Jason Marquis this season after taking him deep on July 20 in Chicago. Marquis (10-8) gave up five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings, mainly due to Young's barrage. "Just one of those times, I guess, because he actually has really good stuff," Young said. "He happened to leave me a few over the middle of the plate." The game appeared to be a slugfest in the early going with Young doing his damage for the D-backs and Petit serving it back up nearly as fast. Petit struggled for his fourth straight outing, allowing four runs on five hits in four innings. He owns a 10.19 ERA in those four poor starts, this after starting the year with a 2.54 ERA through his first five outings. That led Melvin to pull his right-hander, whom he appears to be losing confidence in, after throwing just 56 pitches. "Just didn't feel like going forward it was going to get any better," Melvin said. "We had a fairly rested bullpen down there. At the time, because of the state of the bullpen, we felt like we could get through it." The bullpen more than got through it, starting with Edgar Gonzalez (6-2) throwing a pair of scoreless innings to earn the win. Setup men Tony Pena and Brandon Lyon both worked an inning before Jose Valverde closed the contest with his Major League-leading 40th save of the year. Pena would have been scored on if Jeff Salazar had not gotten a good jump on a slashing line drive that he managed to track down with a runner at second in the seventh inning. "All of a sudden the momentum swings back in your direction, because off the bat it looks like he's going to have a difficult time getting to it. There were so many momentum swings in that game today, and that was a big one," Melvin said. Valverde got in trouble after allowing back-to-back singles to start the ninth, but he struck out Jason Kendall on an eight-pitch at-bat and catcher Chris Snyder threw out Mike Fontenot at third to complete the double play, with Jeff Cirillo making a nice pick and tag to complete it. That set the stage for Jacque Jones, who squared up a ball toward the hole at first, which first baseman Tony Clark made a diving stop on before flipping the ball to Valverde for the out. "Pitching and defense is what's going to win you games," Clark said. The victory helped Arizona move three games ahead of the second-place Padres entering a four-game showdown starting Monday in San Diego. "It's been like that all year," Young said. "We don't win our games by eight, nine runs every time. We have to battle; we have to grind. That's the way we've been getting our wins. We've been doing it all year, and we've got to continue doing it."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less