--LF Willie Bloomquist recently missed 21 games with a hamstring injury, but the speedy Diamondback -- who still leads the team with seven steals -- showed he's ready to let it rip. Playing left field Friday, Bloomquist needed every bit of his burst and then some to track down a drive in the third inning -- robbing Twins CF Denard Span of extra bases with a full-out dive and stab just shy of the warning track. Bloomquist added one hit in three at-bats, pushing his average to .303.
--Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire made a curious decision in the seventh inning, intentionally walking Bloomquist -- for just the fourth time in his big-league career -- and choosing to pitch to 3B Ryan Roberts with the bases loaded and two outs. And Roberts, who relishes such situations, promptly cleared the bases with a gapper to left-center to cap a five-run inning.
--Tired of shuffling three players at first base, manager Kirk Gibson said something would give soon, and he wasn't kidding. After Friday's game, the D-backs released veteran Russell Branyan in a move than made room for Saturday starter Micah Owings on the roster. Arizona is sticking with Juan Miranda and Xavier Nady at first base.
Nady got the start Friday and responded with two hits and an RBI. Miranda had his best game of the season Thursday, collecting three hits, including a sixth-inning triple that missed being a home run by inches. Miranda now has six hits in his last 12 at-bats, raising his batting average by more than 40 points over that span.
In 31 games this season, Branyan hit .210/.290/.339 with one homer and two RBI.
--After allowing just four earned runs over 50 innings, the Arizona bullpen finally faltered Friday, allowing three runs in 2 2/3 and letting two inherited runners score in the seventh inning. With closer J.J. Putz not available due to overwork, the ninth inning was a near meltdown. Juan Gutierrez gave up a home run and a single, and David Hernandez walked three consecutive batters to force in two runs and turn an 8-4 laugher into an 8-7 nail-biter. But Joe Patterson came to the rescue, striking out Jason Kubel before getting Justin Morneau to ground out to end the game. Patterson, who collected his first major league save, has not allowed a run in all 19 of his appearances this season to extend his own franchise record.
--CF Chris Young, who hit his ninth home run Thursday, collected his 13th double Friday in the midst of a five-run seventh inning. Young now has 24 extra-base hits this season, the most in the National League.
BY THE NUMBERS
4 -- Consecutive one-run games won by the Diamondbacks during their 6-1 stretch. Arizona had previously lost six straight one-run games.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We've been playing really good defense. When you look at a game, you tend to look at just the hitting part of it and the pitching part of it, but we took care of the ball very well tonight." -- Manager Kirk Gibson, after Arizona's 8-7 win over Minnesota on Friday.
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