video thumbnail

COL@ARI: Young makes a fantastic grab to get Fowler

PHOENIX -- Justin Upton was hit in the back.

Right between the numbers and right off the spine, the D-backs right fielder took a sixth-inning fastball from Rockies starting pitcher Alex White, went down, stayed down for a minute but stayed in the game.

Then his teammates had his back.

The D-backs responded to Upton's 15th hit-by-pitch of the season with four run-scoring hits as the team won its seventh straight game in a 5-1 victory over the Rockies at Chase Field on Monday night.

With the win, the D-backs increased their National League West lead to five games, their largest advantage of the season. It also ran their winning streak to seven games, the second time this year that they have done that.

"The boys definitely wanted to have my back," Upton said. "We came out and put some runs on the board after that, so I'm sure it fired them up a little bit."

It fired up Miguel Montero, who singled on the next pitch to right. It fired up Paul Goldschmidt, who doubled to center. It fired up Gerardo Parra, who bowled over Chris Iannetta at home plate and it certainly fired up Daniel Hudson, who singled to left.

"It's frustrating sometimes to see him get hit like that," Hudson said. "If you're going to go in there, you've got to go in there and hit your spots.

"I mean, it's getting ridiculous," he continued. "We're all kind of taking it a little personally I think. Everybody saw that happen, [Upton] took a good one tonight and it kind of lit a fire under us."

Only Carlos Quentin (23) of the White Sox and the Nationals' Danny Espinosa (16) have been hit more this season than the D-backs' 23-year-old All-Star.

"It's part of the game," Upton said. "Obviously, I don't like getting hit, but we still won the game, so I'm not worried about it."

But the 19,478 at Chase Field were, as Upton went to his knees while being checked out by D-backs head trainer Ken Crenshaw and manager Kirk Gibson.

"I feel all right," Upton said afterwards. "Obviously, it's going to stiffen up a little bit, but we've done all we can tonight, icing it and everything, so we'll see tomorrow."

The hit-by-pitch ignited a D-backs offense that, after failing to break the rookie White after threatening in the first two innings, exacted its revenge with four runs on five hits in the sixth inning.

After Aaron Hill led off the inning with a single and Upton was hit, Montero singled, scoring Hill. Goldschmidt pounded a double off the wall in deep center field, scoring Upton. John McDonald delivered an infield single, scoring Montero. Hudson singled sharply to left, scoring Goldschmidt, and suddenly a one-run game had become a 5-0 D-backs lead.

Parra, who was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, tried to score on Hudson's single after Seth Smith bobbled the ball in left, but was thrown out by a couple of steps before and greeted Iannetta with a forearm shiver to try to jar the ball loose.

Meanwhile, the Rockies offense couldn't ignite against Hudson, who extinguished it for seven scoreless innings.

He allowed three hits, struck out eight batters and walked three while improving to 14-9 on the season.

"I was fighting myself early on," Hudson admitted. "Trying to rush to home plate, trying to make too perfect of a pitch and I just tried to calm myself down and not overdo it."

After escaping a two-on, nobody out jam in the second inning, the right-hander allowed only one hit over his final five frames and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

"He actually struggled early," Gibson said. "He couldn't find a rhythm, but got going later in the game. He was actually throwing the ball better at the end, we extended him tonight but he wanted to go so he did a great job."

While the offense backed up Upton, the defense did the same for Hudson. With the D-backs clinging to a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler led off with a deep drive to center.

D-backs center fielder Chris Young was playing shallow for the light-hitting outfielder, but he raced back and made a running, over-the-shoulder grab at the warning track before crashing into the wall. Young held on to the ball, and Hudson retired the next to batters to hold on to the lead.

"I just turn and go and hope that when I look back up, I'm in the right vicinity," Young said. "He hit that ball really good and I just tried to run to the spot and turn back around and there were a couple feet left for me right up against the wall, so I went up there."

Hudson's three walks snapped a seven-game streak without issuing a free pass, tied for second-most among National League starters. He has issued one walk or less in 17 of 27 starts this season.

"He had his changeup working for him and his fastball was a little jumpy," Rockies third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff said. "He located the ball well. We got some good pitches to hit tonight. I just don't think we came through and hit them."

Hudson was given an early lead when Ryan Roberts hit a home run to left field to lead off the first inning. It was Roberts' second leadoff home run of the season and 17th overall.

"I'd take a hit, I'd take anything," Roberts said. "But that would work."

Bryan Shaw pitched a scoreless eighth inning before hitting Troy Tulowitzki to start the ninth and being removed, followed by Joe Paterson retiring Todd Helton before he allowed a single to Smith and hit Kouzmanoff to load the bases.

Gibson summoned closer J.J. Putz, who hit Iannetta to plate Tulowitzki and bring the tying run to the plate. But Putz struck out pinch-hitter Jason Giambi and induced a flyout from Fowler for his 34th save.

"With Giambi, you don't want to leave anything low and over the plate," Gibson said. "He threw the split down in the dirt, which is very good."

The D-backs' division lead and their winning streak have come in no small part to the performance of their starters, who have recorded victories in each of those seven games and sported an ERA of 0.56 during that span.

"We're kind of feeding off each other," Hudson said. "It's a lot of fun to watch."

MLB.com Comments