Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hudson, D-Backs complete sweep of Twins

By Anthony Fenech / | 05/22/11

PHOENIX -- A week ago in Los Angeles, D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson talked about his team losing six straight one-run games.

"My thought is that we lost six one-run games and everybody's feeling pitiful about it," he said. "My thinking is, well, we're going to win the next six."

A week later, and Gibson's words have proved true.

Propelled by eight strong innings from starting pitcher Daniel Hudson, the D-Backs beat the Twins 3-2 on Sunday in front of 31,017 at Chase Field, climbing back to the .500 mark and earning the franchise's first six-game winning streak since April 2008.

"We want to keep climbing," Gibson said. "We're fortunate to win six in a row but we have to be much better than that."

Ryan Roberts' sacrifice fly in the seventh inning scored Willie Bloomquist, Hudson held the Twins following a leadoff single in the eighth and J.J. Putz breezed through the ninth for his 12th save in as many chances.

The win was the team's third one-run victory of the seven-game home stand.

After Delmon Young's first home run of the year tied the game in the top half of the inning, Bloomquist led off the seventh with a double to left-center, advancing to third on an error by Ben Revere.

Roberts drove in the game-winning run a batter later, on a deep fly ball to center field that Revere juggled on the run before catching.

"It's been somebody new every night it seems like," Bloomquist said. "Somebody's making a big pitch or getting a big hit or making a big play. It was a good homestand and a great way to bounce back after a not-so-great road trip."

Hudson earned his second consecutive victory and fifth in his past six starts, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked none.

"It was my game," Hudson said he told Gibson. "I didn't want any of those guys to take it from me."

The right-hander threw 113 pitches and surpassed the 110-pitch mark for the third consecutive outing.

"He was in control," said Gibson. "I went over and talked to him and he said he wanted it, that it was his game. If you look at that last inning, his velocity picked up and he laid it all out there today and got rewarded."

After Juan Miranda homered to right-center field to break a scoreless tie in the fourth, Hudson helped his own cause by singling home Xavier Nady four batters later to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.

Hudson's counterpart Francisco Liriano contributed at the plate an inning later, on an RBI groundout to second base that scored Young to make the score 2-1.

Liriano pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked four. The Twins are now 14 ½ games back in the A.L. Central.

"Unfortunately we didn't put too many good swings together," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Miranda's fourth-inning home run marked his third consecutive game with an RBI, but he was plunked on the hand by reliever Alex Burnett in the eighth inning and was removed from the game.

"It's not broke," Gibson said, noting that he'll be re-evaluated when the team arrives in Colorado on Monday.

Speaking through teammate Miguel Montero, Miranda said the injury was nothing serious.

With the win, the D-Backs stand in third place, four games behind the first-place Giants and a half-game behind the Rockies in the N.L. West.

The team opens a seven-game road trip with a doubleheader against the Rockies on Tuesday.

"It doesn't get easy," Gibson said. "But you have to cherish the opportunity."

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