MLB Insiders: Arizona Diamondbacks

Erik Bedard

The Pirates open a three-game series in Arizona on Monday night. Lefty Erik Bedard will pitch for the Bucs. The D-backs counter with lefty Joe Saunders.

Chris Young has keyed the Arizona Diamondbacks' best start in four years heading into the opener of a 10-game homestand Monday night against the Pirates.

Young homered and drove in three runs Sunday in a 5-2 win at Colorado. Arizona (6-3), off to its best start since opening 9-2 in 2008, salvaged the series finale after blowing leads in the first two games and losing each by one run.

Manager Kirk Gibson hopes his team keeps up its winning ways at home, having gone 26-4 there since Aug. 8 - including two NL division series victories against Milwaukee. Arizona's homestand also includes four games against Atlanta and three with Philadelphia.

First up is a three-game set with the Pirates, who have been battered by Young. He's hit .365 with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 16 games against them, including 8 for 22 with two home runs last season.

The Pirates are averaging 2.0 runs, a trend that already has plagued Erik Bedard (0-2, 2.25 ERA) entering his third start as a National Leaguer. The 10-year veteran left-hander lost the first two as Pittsburgh's lineup totaled one run.

Bedard allowed three runs over 12 innings, striking out seven and walking two.

Bedard, 8-5 with a 1.86 ERA in 20 career starts versus NL clubs, did not get a decision in his only outing versus Arizona in 2007.

That's also the only year in which Joe Saunders (0-0, 0.00) pitched against the Pirates heading into his start Monday.

Saunders threw seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 loss at San Diego on Wednesday, his season debut. The lack of offensive help should be familiar to the left-hander, who went 3-6 in 15 regular-season home starts last year while getting no more than two runs of support in 11 of them.

These teams split six games last season. The Pirates have lost 14 of 19 in Arizona, last winning a series there in 2005.

When Trevor Cahill was acquired last winter, a former teammate reported that Cahill's sinking two-seam fastball was in the Brandon Webb class. It was high praise for a 24-year old who won 18 games in Oakland in 2010.

Cahill needed only two starts to record his first National League victory, and he did it as advertised. He kept his pet sinking fastball at the knees and mixed in his off-speed pitches effectively in a 5-2 victory over Colorado on Sunday.

Cahill gave up only four hits, all singles, and walked two while striking out six. The Rockies got only four balls out of the infield, three singles and a short pop fly to right field that second baseman Aaron Hill turned into a double play.

"We got a great performance from Trevor today. Very dominant," manager Kirk Gibson said. Chris Young has keyed the Arizona Diamondbacks' best start in four years heading into the opener of a 10-game homestand Monday night against the Pirates.

Cahill recorded 22 outs before leaving with one out in the last of the eighth inning, and 19 were on ground balls or strikeouts. Colorado did not get a runner to second base off him until a single and an outfield error by his final batter.

"I don't think the Rockies could figure him out. A lot of ground-ball outs," said center fielder Chris Young, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning and added an RHI single in the third. Young did not have a chance until catching a fly ball for the first out in the ninth inning.

Cahill was a little antsy in his first start last Tuesday in San Diego, walking six in his return to his hometown. Even then, he only gave up two hits and one run, and was in line for the victory until the bullpen gave up the tying run in the seventh inning of a 3-2, 11-inning victory.

Cahill, 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA, is to make his first home start Friday against Atlanta.

NOTES, QUOTES

--CF Chris Young took over sole possession of third place in franchise home runs with a two-run shot in the first inning Sunday, the 122nd of his career."You just try to find a way to have consistent at-bats," said Young, who has four homers and 11 RBI in the first nine games. Young broke a tie with Mark Reynolds and trails only Luis Gonzalez (224) and Steve Finley (153).

--RHP Trevor Cahill won his first game for the D-backs in his second start, giving up only one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 5-2 victory over Colorado on Sunday. "Very dominant," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. Cahill, whose pet pitch is a sinking two-seam fastball, got 13 ground ball outs to go with six strikeouts. His other outs came on two popups to second baseman Aaron Hill, who turned one into a double play.

--The D-backs tied a franchise record by using five pitchers in the eighth inning Sunday. Cahill struck out a batter before leaving after giving up a single. LHP Joe Paterson pitched to three batters, and RHP Brad Ziegler, LHP Craig Breslow and RHP Bryan Shaw faced one apiece as the Rockies scored twice. Shaw got out of a bases-loaded situation to preserve a 5-2 lead for his second save.

--C Miguel Montero, given his first day off of the season at Colorado on Sunday, homered in the first two games of the three-game series at Coors Field to continue a hot streak against the Rockies. Six of Montero's last nine home runs, including both this season, have come against Colorado -- all against different pitchers. Thirteen of Montero's 60 career homers have come against the Rockies, seven at Coors Field.

--C Henry Blanco became the last of the D-backs' 13 position players to start a game when he took over for Montero against Colorado LHP Drew Pomeranz on Sunday. Pomeranz was 18 months old when Blanco made his professional debut with the Rookie Gulf Coast Dodgers in 1980.

BY THE NUMBERS: 19 -- The number of outs recorded via strikeout or ground balls that RHP Trevor Cahill recorded in 7 1/3 innings of a 5-2 victory at Colorado on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We lost a lot of close games last year and we corrected it. We plan on doing the same." -- Manager Kirk Gibson, whose team lost three consecutive one-run games last week but was 28-16 in one-run games in 2011.

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