Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 6/24/12
PHOENIX -- For the first time this season, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson used the same lineup for the second straight game Saturday. It was partially due to matchups against Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm and partially due to the fact that his regulars are not in need of rest because of the off days sprinkled into the June schedule. And then there is the production. The D-backs had their fifth straight double-digit-hit game while dispatching the Cubs 10-5, hitting well enough to overcome one of Ian Kennedys shortest outings of the season. They have 16 runs and 26 hits in the first two games of the series. "Its hard to argue with that lineup," Gibson said. Indeed. In their 4-1 homestand that now includes two series victories, the D-backs have 46 runs, 67 hits, 33 extra-base hits and 13 home runs. "Were driving the ball the way we knew we could," Gibson said. It has not been the exact same lineup for the last five, but it has featured the same principals, with Jason Kubel's move to the cleanup spot kind of anchoring the new setup. "Guys are kind of fitting in, establishing where they belong in the order," Gibson said. "We have a good balance amongst ourselves. If it is not one guy, its the other. Thats the most important thing. If you can do it, you would do it. Everybody is healthy right now. Weve had all these off days, so you can play the same guys." Gibson knows things will change shortly, when the D-backs begin a stretch of 13 consecutive games before the All-Star break with a six-game trip to Atlanta and Milwaukee that begins Tuesday. Players will need rest. Matchups will get others (Gerardo Parra) in the lineup, and Stephen Drew is expected to join the team Wednesday in Atlanta. But of late, standing pat has been the best option. The D-backs (36-35) are over .500 for the first time since May 4 and can get two games over for the first time since May 1 if they can complete a sweep against the Cubs (24-47) behind All-Star candidate Wade Miley on Sunday. "Thats what this team is all about," Justin Upton said. "We dug ourselves a hole. We knew we were going to have to scrap to get out of it. Its nice to be there, but we have a long season ahead of us. We still have to play good baseball. "We can be complacent or we can push to be more games over .500." For the second game in a row, the bullpen played a big role in the victory, throwing 4 23 innings of scoreless relief after Kennedy's early departure. Craig Breslow, Mike Zagurski, Bryan Shaw and J.J. Putz combined to give up just four singles, Shaw got a double play in his inning and Zagurski had a 1-2-3 seventh. Breslow and Shaw worked for the second straight day, and each has pitched in the last four games, split by an off day Thursday. Breslow, who replaced Kennedy in the fifth, was credited with the victory after going 1 23 innings. "Fortunately we were pretty rested based on how deep they (starters) had gone in the last turns through the rotation," Breslow said. "I dont know necessarily if we can cover five or six innings tomorrow, but for the first two days, we were well-equipped. "One of our biggest attributes down there is our versatility. We have so many guys that bring so many different things to the table, and for the most part every guy down there can go more than an inning, which is important." Meanwhile, the usual suspects carried a lot of the offensive load. Jason Kubel, who leads the NL with 22 RBIs in June, had two hits, including a two-run single in a six-run third inning. Upton homered for the second time in three games and had two hits and two RBIs. Miguel Montero, who is second in the NL with 21 RBIs in June, had two hits and two RBIs. Paul Goldschmidt had a double, triple and a home run to help pad the D-backs' cushion late in the game. His homer gave the D-backs an 8-5 lead in the sixth, and he doubled and scored on Monteros single in the eighth. The D-backs would have liked to have seen Kennedy go at least six innings for the sake of their bullpen -- with Josh Collmenter going four innings in an emergency start Friday, the bullpen went the full nine in a 7-1 victory -- but the Cubs had other ideas. The Cubs had at least one hit in each of Kennedys five innings, but they did not break loose until Maholm hit a two-out, two-run home in the fourth inning for a 2-1 lead. Even with a 7-1 lead, Kennedy could not get through the fifth to qualify for the victory. Steve Clevengers two-run double knocked Kennedy out, and Jeff Bakers single got the Cubs a run closer at 7-5. "Our offense scored a lot of runs, and our bullpen stepped it up. But our bullpen needed a rest, so its just terrible for me to do that," Kennedy said.
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