--The D-backs trimmed their magic number in the NL West to three despite losing to Pittsburgh on Tuesday when Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw followed D-backs RHP Ian Kennedy into the 20-win club with a 2-1 victory over San Francisco. The D-backs are 5 1/2 games ahead of the Giants and could clinch the division before their home series against the Giants this weekend. "I'm not thinking of any celebrations at all, trust me," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I don't think about when we are going to clinch. I know we keep pushing ahead game by game. I believe that things will take care of themselves."
--D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall, diagnosed with prostate cancer on Saturday, said he will use the diagnosis as a platform to raise public awareness of the disease that often presents no early symptoms and has a high survival rate if attacked early. "Let's educate," said Hall, 42. Hall said he is likely to choose surgery to remove the prostate but that he will wait until the baseball season ends.
--SS Willie Bloomquist had RBI singles in the seventh and eighth innings as the D-backs broke through against the Pirates, although they could not overcome an early 3-0 hole. Bloomquist beat out a bunt single toward third base with two outs and runners on the corners in the eighth, a play that was originally ruled a throwing error on 3B Pablo Alvarez. "The third baseman was way back. I just thought if I could get it down, I'd get on. I can't let him play that far back on me," Bloomquist said.
--RHP Ian Kennedy (20-4) is the fourth 20-game winner in franchise history, but the statistic manager Kirk Gibson likes the most is the D-backs' 24-8 record in games Kennedy starts. "I'm thinking about the team. And he is, too," Gibson said. "He has certainly stepped up for the team." LHP Randy Johnson won a franchise-record 24 games in 2002 and also won 21 in 2001, the final two of his four consecutive Cy Young seasons in Arizona. RHP Curt Schilling had 22 victories in 2001 and 23 in 2002. RHP Brandon Webb won 22 games in 2008. The D-backs are 24-8 in Kennedy's starts, the best record among NL starting pitchers.
--RF Justin Upton is 5-for-8 with a double, three home runs and four RBI when he puts the ball in play on a 3-0 count this season. His broken-bat, game-deciding homer Monday came on 3-0 pitch from RHP Jeff Karstens was the second 3-0 homer to win a game. "Gibby (manager Kirk Gibson) has confidence to let me swing in that situation, and I got a good pitch to hit," Upton said.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 -- D-backs' magic number to win the NL West, after their loss was mitigated by San Francisco's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I'd rather be in this position than the other guy's position." -- SS Willie Bloomquist, whose team has a 5 1/2-game lead in the NL West with seven to play.
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.