|Arizona (57-55) «||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0||6||10||1|
Come Thursday, Gibson reconsidered.
"He's got a chance of doing damage," Gibson explained before Thursday's game against the Pirates. "He's due."
Kubel sure was.
Kubel homered twice, Joe Saunders pitched seven effective innings and the Diamondbacks beat Pittsburgh 6-3 on Thursday.
"I said he was due, didn't I?" Gibson said after the game. "I'm glad I had him in there. It was just a great performance from him."
Saunders (6-8) retired 14 consecutive batters in the middle innings. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits with no walks. The Diamondbacks had lost five of his previous six starts.
J.J. Putz pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the season. He's converted 12 chances in a row.
After a three-run second that featured three singles and a sacrifice fly, the first two Pirates in the third singled off Saunders. He allowed only one more runner.
"The second inning was not much fun," Saunders said. "I was making pretty good pitches, and they were still kind of finding holes. I kept telling myself, `Keep making good pitches, keep pounding the strike zone and it's going to start going your way."'
Hill had three hits and Chris Johnson had two as Arizona completed a 6-4 road trip.
Gaby Sanchez had three hits for the Pirates.
After hitting an NL-high 11 home runs during July, Kubel was slumping enough recently that Gibson had him out of the lineup Wednesday. But the ejections of Chris Young and Justin Upton that night forced Kubel into the game late, and he was back in the No. 3 spot in the order Thursday.
Kubel moved into third in the NL with his 24th and 25th home runs. He has nine career multihomer games, including hitting three July 21 against Houston. Kubel homered in the first and seventh innings to open and close the game's scoring.
"I watched him [Wednesday] and he needed a mental day more than anything," Gibson said. "I could just tell. I played him a lot. He went through that streak of hitting all the home runs and then just was swinging and missing a lot... (But) lefties this year are hitting better off [Pittsburgh starter Wandy Rodriguez], and there's always the chance for Kubel to hit it out of ballpark. It worked out for us."
After the Pirates took the lead with a three-run second, Nieves put Arizona ahead 4-3 when he homered with Johnson on base in the sixth. Nieves connected off Rodriguez (7-11) for his second home run of the season.
Claimed off waivers from Colorado on Monday, Nieves was playing for the first time since July 8. He was 2 for 4.
Rodriguez (7-11) allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings. He is winless in three starts since the Pirates acquired him from the Houston Astros for three prospects on July 24.
"I don't know what's going on with me -- I've lost the last two games on only one pitch," Rodriguez said. "Today in that last inning on Nieves, I hung a breaking ball and he hit a home run."
"After that, (Saunders) just hit spots," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He hit more spots and worked ahead in the count. We were laying off some pitches, he got behind in some counts and we were able to drive some balls and do some things (in the second), but after that last window of opportunity we had, we didn't have much come our way at all."
|Players of the Game|
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|Stephen Drew, SS||5||0||0||0||0||1||3||.216|
|Aaron Hill, 2B||5||2||3||0||0||1||0||.297|
|Jason Kubel, LF||5||2||2||4||0||0||1||.280|
|Paul Goldschmidt, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.305|
|Justin Upton, RF||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.272|
|Chris Johnson, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||0||2||.285|
|Chris Young, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.209|
|Wil Nieves, C||4||1||2||2||0||0||0||.314|
|Joe Saunders, P||2||0||0||0||1||0||2||.088|
|a- Ryan Wheeler, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.190|
|David Hernandez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|J.J. Putz, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Saunders in the 8th|
|2B - Aaron Hill (26, Rodriguez), Justin Upton (15, Hughes)|
|HR - Jason Kubel 2 (25, Rodriguez, Hughes), Wil Nieves (2, Rodriguez)|
|RBI - Jason Kubel 4 (77), Wil Nieves 2 (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Wil Nieves 2 (3)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Joe Saunders (1, Missed catch of throw)|
|Joe Saunders (W,6-8)||7||7||3||2||0||3||0||3.52|
|David Hernandez (H,17)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.57|
|J.J. Putz (S,21)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.41|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 115-77, David Hernandez 22-15, J.J. Putz 15-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 10-9, David Hernandez 1-1, J.J. Putz 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 29, David Hernandez 4, J.J. Putz 3|
|Starling Marte, LF||4||0||2||1||0||1||0||.281|
|Josh Harrison, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.237|
|Andrew McCutchen, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.369|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.217|
|Neil Walker, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||2||3||.291|
|Michael McKenry, C||4||1||1||1||0||0||3||.283|
|Travis Snider, RF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.281|
|Jeff Locke, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Clint Barmes, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.211|
|Jordy Mercer, SS||3||0||0||1||0||1||0||.200|
|Wandy Rodriguez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.024|
|Jared Hughes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Garrett Jones, RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.273|
|a-struck out for Locke in the 9th|
|3B - Starling Marte (2, Saunders)|
|SF - Jordy Mercer (1)|
|RBI - Starling Marte (9), Michael McKenry (29), Jordy Mercer (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Starling Marte (4)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Wandy Rodriguez (L,7-11)||6||7||4||4||2||2||2||3.91|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 93-58, Jared Hughes 20-13, Jeff Locke 37-22|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 4-12, Jared Hughes 1-0, Jeff Locke 4-2|
|Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 27, Jared Hughes 5, Jeff Locke 7|
|Attendance - 20558|
|Game Time - 2:55|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Larry Vanover|