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Hudson shines in D-backs’ homerfest

August 12, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — While the numbers certainly are impressive, Daniel Hudson really showed what he could do on the mound after a couple mistakes.

He’s made just eight career starts, but Hudson displayed composure like a veteran, bouncing back from a terrible start to the second inning to lead the D-backs to an 8-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday.

After striking out the side in the first, Hudson surrendered back-to-back home runs to Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee to open the second.

“I got 3-0 on Fielder, and I know he swings 3-0 all the time, but I know I didn’t want to walk him either the first time through the lineup,” Hudson said. “I just got lucky the scoreboard didn’t fall over after he hit it.

“Then McGehee kind of ambushed me next pitch. You’ve just got to push through that.”

Hudson did, in fine fashion.

Much like fellow young starters, Ian Kennedy and Barry Enright did in the first two games of the series, Hudson shut down the Brewers from then on — retiring 16 of the final 20 batters he faced.

“I thought he showed good composure coming back,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He was in a couple situations there, where you can see again he has great composure. He makes his pitches when he has to and he gets out of it.”

Hudson went seven innings, allowing just the two runs on seven hits while walking one to go with a career-high nine strikeouts. It was the third straight start of seven or more innings for Hudson since joining the D-backs on July 30.

In the fourth, the offense rewarded Hudson for his composure.

With one out, four D-backs belted consecutive home runs off Brewers starter Dave Bush, tying a Major League record and making Arizona the seventh team to homer in four straight at-bats.

First baseman Adam LaRoche started the run of homers and was followed by Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew, all in the span of 10 pitches.

“It was pretty cool to be a part of it,” Reynolds said. “Rochey and Miggy got things going there and tied it up. [Bush] hung me a curveball, so I was able to put a pretty good swing on it. Stephen came up and hit it in the bullpen, and it was pretty cool.”

It was the second time in as many seasons that the D-backs hit three or more home runs off Bush in an inning at Miller Park. On May 3, 2009, Reynolds and Justin Upton went back-to-back to lead off the seventh inning, and Montero added a third with two out in the D-backs’ 4-3 loss.

Fielder went back-to-back leading off the second inning in that game as well, with Mike Cameron following him against Yusmeiro Petit.

In the sixth, Bush was chased from the game after loading the bases with two walks and a hit batsman. With one out, Hudson ripped an 0-1 fastball from reliever Todd Coffey to the gap in right-center field for a bases-clearing double, putting the game well out of reach.

With the double, Hudson upped his batting average to .222 and he has five RBIs in just eight at-bats. Those numbers certainly don’t make it look like a guy who hasn’t hit since high school.

“He’s got some athletic ability,” Gibson said. “He swings the bat good and that’s just another plus of him. As it goes on he’s going to become a better hitter, and it’s a weapon.”

Hudson (3-0) has dominated since being acquired from the White Sox. Over 22 2/3 innings with Arizona, the 23-year-old right-hander has allowed just four runs on 13 hits, while striking out 17 and walking four.

His performance marked the third straight strong start from the D-backs’ three young starters — Kennedy, Enright and Hudson — in which they have pitched a combined 19 innings, allowing seven runs on 15 hits with five walks and 15 strikeouts.

“The guy has good stuff,” McGehee said. “Good movement, good deception and he threw strikes. You add that all up and you’ve got a pretty good pitcher out there.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diamondbacks beat 8/9

August 12, 2010 Comments off

Hot-hitting LaRoche gets Monday off

MILWAUKEE — With as well as Adam LaRoche has been hitting of late, it’s surprising to see his name left out of the lineup, especially against a left-handed starter.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said Monday it was nothing more than a scheduled day off for the right-handed slugger.

“He’s played quite a bit,” Gibson said. “We talked a couple days ago and it’s probably a good time for that. You’d like to have him in there … but it’s just the smart thing to do. He’s dragging a little bit.”

Before sitting out Monday’s series opener against the Brewers, LaRoche had played 23 straight games over 24 days, dating back to July 16. LaRoche last got a day off when he sat out the D-backs’ final two games before the All-Star break.

Gibson noted a similar move recently with an Arizona outfielder has worked well for him.

“I gave Chris Young a day off the other day,” Gibson said. “He was one of the guys who hadn’t had a day off and it worked out very good in the long run for us. We’ve got other guys. Adam hasn’t had a day off here — him and Kelly [Johnson] — really for a long time.”

D-backs monitoring Kennedy’s innings

MILWAUKEE — In his last start, Ian Kennedy lasted just four innings while giving up four runs on eight hits. D-backs manager Kirk Gibson expected to limit the young right-hander’s innings again Monday, but not quite as much as last time out.

“We’re looking at his innings,” Gibson said. “Ideally he’d be having a really good game and we’d squeak six or seven out of him and let him go a little longer.”

When Kennedy was removed after just four innings and 69 pitches against the Nationals on Wednesday, it had to do with the way he was pitching, too.

“I know he didn’t like to come out then, but there was no reason in my mind to let him continue to struggle,” Gibson said. “I’d rather let him if he gets in a good situation today, try and extend him, see if he can pitch through that type of situation.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t take him out after five or after six, but if he’s got it going and he’s fairly efficient with it, I’ll let him go a little longer.”

Kennedy isn’t the only D-backs starter whose innings will be watched closely over the season’s final two months.

With Barry Enright and Daniel Hudson having made just 14 combined starts in the Major Leagues, they’ll kept around the 180-inning mark this season for innings pitched at all levels.

Entering the Milwaukee series, Enright had pitched 135 1/3 innings in 2010, while Hudson had 124 2/3, with both pitching at Triple-A and in the Majors this season. Both could hit the 180 mark sometime in their next 7-10 starts.

“They’re OK, we’ve got a handle on it,” Gibson said. “We’ve got it planned out. One way or the other, they’ll be well within their range.”

Gibson, D-backs confident in Parra

MILWAUKEE — With a left-handed starter on the mound, it typically means a day off for left-handed hitting outfielder Gerardo Parra. That wasn’t the case on Monday night.

“It’s time to do that sometime,” said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson of starting Parra against lefties. “Though he’s not happy with his results, we’re still behind him and what we think his abilities are. He’s played really good outfield for us and he can hit. We know that he can hit.”

Nearly all of Parra’s at-bats this season have come against right-handed pitchers with just 16 against lefties. In those few chances against left-handed pitching, Parra has gone 4-for-16 with three RBIs and four strikeouts.

Parra hasn’t rewarded his manager’s confidence in his abilities at the plate this season, batting just .238/.282/.348 with two home runs and 19 RBIs over 86 games in 2010.

“It’s part of the game. The game’s somewhat streaky,” Gibson said. “You hit into a couple of double plays, first and thirds and then you start to press a little bit, get frustrated.

“He’s been working on some things in the cage too. It’s hard to take it from the cage to the game. It’s just part of his development.”

While it has been a struggle for Parra in his second season, Gibson and the D-backs remain confident in the 23-year-old native of Venezuela.

“We just tell him ‘Relax, you can play,'” Gibson said. “I don’t need to put any more pressure on him than he already puts on himself.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.