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Haren, offense cruise to victory in finale

Haren, offense cruise to victory in finale

KANSAS CITY -- Not even big victories can keep the Arizona Diamondbacks from having anxious moments.

On a Thursday night when they should have been celebrating a 12-5 win over the Royals and their first series victory in four weeks, there was concern in the clubhouse about one of their hottest players.

Center fielder Chris Young, who has shown signs recently of snapping out of a season-long funk, pulled up lame while legging out a triple in the eighth inning and will be re-evaluated Friday.

Young led Arizona's 16-hit attack with a 4-for-4 night that included two doubles and a triple.

The 12 runs were more than enough support for D-backs starter Dan Haren, who once again turned in an outstanding performance allowing just two runs in seven innings. Haren could have gone longer, but having thrown 110 or more pitches in three of his previous four starts, he was taken out at the 98-pitch mark.

"Today I don't think he was at his best, but he's pretty good when he's not at his best," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "He just continues to do good things. Obviously getting him out of there with a lighter workload today is a great luxury."

Haren's opponent on the night, Luke Hochevar, did not fare as well. After needing just 80 pitches to throw a complete-game against the Reds in his last outing, it took the right-hander 94 pitchers to reach four-plus innings.

The D-backs took control of the game with a four-run third that included a two-run triple by Gerardo Parra and an RBI single by Young.

"It was really nice to see C.Y. swing it like that," Haren said. "He's been struggling a little bit."

The D-backs continued to pile on the runs adding three more in the fifth and four more over the three innings after that.

"I had good stuff today, the real story though is the offense," Haren said. "It let me be real aggressive. They really made it pretty easy for me."

The smiles in the Arizona dugout turned to worried looks when Young stumbled heading around second en route to a triple to lead off the eighth. After the stumble, Young slowed up about halfway between second and third, clearly in some discomfort and was immediately removed from the game.

"We'll know more tomorrow," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "Immediately when it grabbed on his groin, he pulled up, which is the right thing to do. The strength was good. His flexibility was good. So hopefully we've avoided something and it was just a little scare."

Said Young, "I had a weird step on the base rounding second base and I felt it grab a little. It doesn't feel too bad. I don't feel it walking and doing a lot of little things like lifting my legs. I don't feel it so hopefully it's not too bad. I guess I'll really know how it is in the morning."

Over his last seven games, Young has gone 10-for-23 with five doubles and raised his average from .177 to .204.

"I've been feeling good at the plate and hopefully this won't be anything that keeps me out for too long and I can get back in there as soon as possible and try to continue what I've been working on," Young said.

Winning a series is something the D-backs have also been working to do. Prior to Thursday, they were 0-for-their-last-5 when entering the final game of a series with a chance to win it.

"Any time you can win a series, it's huge, but the way things have been going for us I think it's great for the team, great for morale," outfielder Justin Upton. "We like this feeling and we continue to make that a goal of ours."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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