Left-hander Joe Saunders knows how to deal with runners on base.
After getting five ground ball double plays behind him Saturday night, Saunders has induced 83 double plays since the start of the 2008 season, second in the major leagues behind left-hander Mark Buehrle of the White Sox, who got two Sunday to increase his total to 86.
The D-backs' five double plays tied a franchise game record.
"That's what I really pride myself on, letting the defense work for me and getting ground balls when I need to," said Saunders, who fell to 0-2 in a 5-3 loss. "I made some good pitches when I needed to."
Saunders has logged 603 innings while going 42-33 since 2008, spending most of the first three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before coming to the D-backs in the trade that sent Danny Haren to the Angels last July 25.
Because Buehrle has pitched more innings, Saunders has the best ratio of double players, getting 1.32 per nine innings.
Saunders' fastball has touched 93 mph in his first three starts this season, but he relies more on location of his three-pitch mix than throwing the ball by the hitter, especially in double play situations.
"It's any pitch, any pitch you really focus on locating down in the zone, whether you're trying to get them out on their front foot or jamming them," Saunders said.
"I think I had some jam-job double play balls, and I got some guys out front. That's what my game is all about."
Saunders is the second pitcher this season to get five ground ball double plays. Texas left-hander Matt Harrison got six in a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees 10 days ago.
The D-backs have had five double plays in a game four times, the most recent against the Yankees last year.
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