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Diamondbacks make a little hit go a long way

The Sports Xchange
Diamondbacks make a little hit go a long way · Notes, Quotes · Roster Report

Kirk Gibson likes the three-run home run as well as the next manager, but he also likes to have other offensive tools at his disposal when the power is not there.

Take the fourth inning of the 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.

The D-Backs scored three runs on one hit, Ryan Roberts' single. They built the rally on three walks, a balk, a stolen base, a safety squeeze, a wild pitch and aggressiveness on the bases, a trait Gibson has worked to instill since the opening of spring training.

"Our plan is to be aggressive when we can," Gibson said after the D-backs salvaged a split of the four-game series despite going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position Sunday.

"When things aren't working the conventional way, you try to push the issue sometimes, and it worked. Our aggressiveness got us some runs. That won us the game."

After moving Miguel Montero to third on his hit with none out in the fourth, Roberts broke from first base attempting to steal, a move that forced Cubs starter Casey Coleman to balk, enabling Montero to score from third.

Roberts tagged and took third on a fly to right field before Gerardo Parra was intentionally walked to bring up pitcher Daniel Hudson, who laid down a safety squeeze bunt toward first. Roberts scored ahead of the throw and runners were on first and second.

"The thinking, is you hope to score a run and get a guy over the second and stay out of the double play," Gibson said of the safety squeeze. "If you research that play around the game, you'll find a lot of time that play forces other mistakes, like what you saw today."

After a walk to Kelly Johnson loaded the bases with two out, a harried Coleman threw a wild pitch that enabled Parra to score from third for a 4-1 lead.

"We were heads-up," Johnson said. "We saw some good execution there. I think it was a case where we kind of forced some things to happen. When you're a team that runs and does that enough times, you can force balks.

I've been on the other end of that. Teams that are aggressive and you know they are, when they make a move early, you are just a little edgy about it. That's what we're working toward, to be that aggressive team that other teams kind of know."

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