SAN DIEGO The Diamondbacks are off to the best start in franchise history, and Chris Young is right there with them.
The D-backs have won four straight, Young has hit in four straight, and even party-pooping Petco Park could not hold Young's line drive into the left field seats in the 11th inning off old friend Micah Owings for a 4-2 victory over San Diego on Tuesday.
Young has two doubles, two homers and six RBIs as the D-backs reached 4-0 for the first time in their 15 seasons. They were 3-0 in 2000.
It is safe to say the offseason tweaks Young made to his hitting approach are taking, not that a little review cannot hurt. Young made a quick dash into the clubhouse in the sixth inning to watch his early swings, saw something, and won the game five innings later.
"I was feeling a little bit out of rhythm. I feel like I missed a couple of pitches I should have hit," said Young, who popped up twice and grounded out in his first three at-bats while hitting in the No. 3 hole while Justin Upton rested a jammed left thumb.
"I was kind of dropping under the ball, popping it up a little too much. I just tried to make an adjustment to stay on top of the ball and try to get a little more backspin. I was glad I was able to transfer it. You're not always able to transfer it into a game, at-bat to at-bat, but that's the ultimate goal.
"The ultimate goal is not to be able to make an adjustment game to game. Good hitters out there, they are able to make an adjustment from their first at-bat to their second at-bat. It took me from my first to my fifth, so I'd like to be able to recognize any kind any mechanical breakdown earlier."
Young homered on an 80 mph slider, one pitch after Owings hit Gerardo Parra to open the 11th. Owings likes to pitch inside, and the ball just nicked Parra's jersey to give him first. Manager Kirk Gibson briefly considered a sacrifice bunt, and Young said he believed Owings might have been expecting that.
"I figured he would throw me a strike. Normally in that situation, you might think a guy is going to bunt," Young said.
"He looks the best I've ever seen him. His discipline at the plate looks better. He is swinging at good pitches," catcher Miguel Montero said of Young.
Craig Breslow got his first National League victory with a 1-2-3 10th inning and J.J. Putz recorded converted his third save in as many opportunities this season.
All that came after a quirky beginning for Trevor Cahill, who was making his first start D-backs start in his home town, by the way after being acquired over the winter to deepen the rotation.
Cahill walked five of the first nine batters he faced working on an Edwin Jackson no-hitter, it appeared but had very little trouble once he found the strike zone to keep the D-backs in front through the first six innings
Cahill gave up only two hits and a run, and faced only one batter more than the minimum 11 after giving up his first hit, a double by Chase Headley in the third. Headley scored on a wild pitch and a ground out.
"I didn't really know where it was going," said Cahill, although he left with a 2-1 lead.
San Diego starter Edinson Volquez did not know where he was supposed to go in the first inning, and it cost the Padres two runs.
Willie Bloomquist opened the first with a single to left field and took second when Parra grounded out. With two outs, Montero broke his bat on fastball from Volquez, sending shards of wood toward the mound and the ball toward the hole between first and second. When first baseman Yonder Alonso fielded the ball, he was too far from the bag to beat Montero, and Volquez was still near the mound, apparently distracted by the flotsam.
Paul Goldschmidt made Volquez pay almost instantly, lining a 1-0 pitch deep to left-center field to drive in both runs. It was the kind of mistake the D-backs took advantage of last season, and it did not take them long time this, either.
"That bat just exploded. I think the bat got farther than the ball. It's a knock (hit), so I'll take it," Montero said. "It was good. We took advantage of the little mistakes. I would say that was the difference in the ball game. 'Goldy' came back and got a big hit."
Cahill left after six innings and 104 pitches, and the Padres tied the game on consecutive pitches triple, single in the seventh off Brad Ziegler. Jason Kubel helped shorten the inning when he easily threw out Bartlett attempting to stretch it.
After a walk and a stolen base, Bryan Shaw entered to strike out Will Venable, the first of four straight outs for Shaw. David Hernandez, Breslow and Putz followed with scoreless innings.
The rest was, is, history.
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