Upton’s 9th-Inning Hit Gives Arizona Win Over Marlins
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PHOENIX (CBS4) — Justin Upton knew his bloop hit into shallow right field in the bottom of the ninth inning was going to land for a game-winning base hit.
It did, and moments later Upton was running away from his teammates trying to corral him and celebrate after the Arizona Diamondbacks completed a four-run comeback and overcame a blown save Wednesday night to defeat the Florida Marlins 6-5.
Upton’s hit drove in Willie Bloomquist from third base with the winning run.
“I didn’t hit it very hard. I fooled them with a full swing,” Upton said. “You’ve got to play all 27 outs and we used every single one of them.”
Upton was only too happy to help his teammate, closer J.J. Putz, go from a blown save to being credited with the win. Putz’s 16-game save streak ended with Marlins catcher John Buck’s solo home run in the top of the ninth that tied the score at 5.
After Putz finished the inning, Upton told him the team would do for Putz what he has done for the Diamondbacks many times this year.
“He’s picked us up all season,” Upton said of Putz. “I dropped a ball in the outfield earlier in the year, he came back and got the next out.”
Bloomquist led off the ninth against Clay Hensley (0-2) with an infield single. Hensley struck out pinch-hitter Sean Burroughs then left with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Burke Badenhop relieved and Bloomquist hustled to third base on a chopper ground out by Ryan Roberts. After a walk, Upton ended the game with his hit.
“Willie’s just very aggressive,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “One of the reasons why you pressure like that is he’s got to make a throw and that ball could very well get past him (the fielder), that’s why we do it.”
“The way he looked,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said of Hensley, “it looked like he will be out for a while.”
The Diamondbacks, coming off a 19-10 month of May during which they took over first place in the NL West, got June off to a rousing start with the win.
They trailed 4-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Roberts hit a two-run homer and Kelly Johnson tripled and scored on a groundout by Upton to make it 4-3.
Arizona tied it at 4 in the seventh after loading the bases with one out. Pinch-hitter Xavier Nady hit a bouncer to third base that the Marlins’ Greg Dobbs misplayed, the ball bouncing off his glove for an error that allowed Young to score.
After reliever David Hernandez struck out the side in the top of the eighth, Stephen Drew singled with two outs and took second on an errant pickoff throw from Marlins reliever Edward Mujica. Chris Young doubled to give the Diamondbacks a 5-4 lead.
“That’s the way our team is. We just keep fighting,” Putz said.
“We come out every day with the same attitude, win or lose,” Gibson said. “We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We know what we want to accomplish.”
The Marlins’ Mike Stanton was a double short of hitting for the cycle, driving in three runs with a home run and a triple. Stanton hit a two-run homer, his team-high 12th of the season, in the top of the second. He also drove in a run with a two-out triple in the third.
“We had control of the game through six innings, then they made adjustments, clutch hits,” Rodriguez said. “You have to tip your hat to them.”
Florida starter Javier Vazquez, who lasted six innings and gave up four runs and six hits, drove in a run with a single in the second.
Daniel Hudson pitched seven innings and gave up four runs and eight hits for the Diamondbacks.
Notes: The Diamondbacks, citing the Elias Sports Bureau, are the first team in major league history to gain sole possession of first place in their league or division during May after entering the month at least 6 1/2 games out of first. … Arizona reliever Juan Gutierrez, on the 15-day DL with a sore right shoulder, was scheduled for soft toss Wednesday. Reliever Sam Demel, also on the DL, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday. Both aren’t expected to be ready to return until at least the middle of this month. … The Diamondbacks acquired C Lucas May from Kansas City in a minor-league trade for RHP Andrea Pizziconi on Wednesday. May will report to Class AAA Reno. … Florida SS Hanley Ramirez missed a third straight game with lower back stiffness and could be placed on the DL if he’s not able to play Friday when the Marlins play again. … Florida was 11-6 on the road in May, the best mark in the majors.
(© 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)