D-backs finding success in first inning

D-backs finding success in first inning

D-backs finding success in first inning
PHOENIX -- The D-backs aren't wasting any time warming up their bats this season.

Through 10 games this season, the D-backs have scored in the first inning eight times for 14 total runs. Aaron Hill's first-inning homer on Monday against the Pirates marked the fifth long ball the team has hit in the frame in 2012.

Last year the team averaged 0.57 runs in the first, but two weeks into this season, that number has ballooned to 1.40.

"I like it. The guys have been great," manager Kirk Gibson said. "When I came in here last year, one of the things we talked about was preparation and being ready for the very first pitch. As far as where we were last year, we are light years ahead."

Setting the table for such productive starts have been guys like Willie Bloomquist, Ryan Roberts and Hill at the top of the order.

When the D-backs score in the first inning, the trio is a combined 5-for-10 with six runs scored, two RBIs and two homers.

Chris Young has benefited the most from his teammates getting on base early. He has six RBIs on four hits and three homers in the first inning this year.

"Those guys are getting things started for us," Young said. "Anytime you get on base and cause havoc like those guys do, it puts a lot of pressure on pitchers. We have a good lineup that knocks them in, too."

The D-backs' rotation doesn't mind the first-inning production, either. With so much run support, the starters aren't feeling as much pressure when they're on the mound.

"We've had a lot of opportunities in the first inning," Joe Saunders said. "We played long ball [Monday], and it's always nice when you can get the easy ones."