WASHINGTON -- Kirk Gibson decided to have a little fun with Miguel Montero and not immediately give him the green light when the D-backs' catcher was ahead in the count 3-0 in the second inning.
Gibson eventually did give him the go ahead and was glad he did when Montero hit the next pitch over the wall in center to help spark the D-backs to a 9-2 win over the Nationals on Saturday night at Nationals Park.
The blast was the first of two for Montero on the night, his first multihomer game of the year and the fourth of his career.
Since taking over as manager on July 1, Gibson has consistently given his hitters the green light on 3-0, so Montero was fully expecting it when he looked down at third-base coach Joel Youngblood.
"He didn't give it to me," said Montero of Youngblood. "And I was like, that's weird because he always gives it to me, and then I gave double check and he did. It's a great count to hit."
Said Gibson, "We kind of jerked him around a little bit. We gave it to him, but not immediately."
Montero, though, said he was planning on giving himself the green light either way.
"Even if he didn't I was going to swing," said Montero with a smile. "I knew if I hit it I had to hit it hard. That was my only concern."
Hitting the ball hard against Washington starter Jason Marquis was not a problem. The D-backs homered four times in the game with three coming off the righty, who lasted four-plus innings while allowing five runs.
"Just too many balls up in the zone," said Marquis, who fell to 0-5. "I wasn't able to make the adjustment to get the ball down; the ball wasn't sinking too much. You pay for your mistakes."
Gerardo Parra cashed in with a homer of his own three batters after Montero's first shot.
"He was leaving balls out over the plate and we were able to hit it," Montero said. "Unfortunately for him he had a bad day. He fell behind a lot, and we were able to hit him."
Meanwhile, D-backs starter Ian Kennedy had his best start in nearly a month as he allowed just two runs on five hits over seven innings.
"I just tried to pound the zone," Kennedy said. "Miggy called a great game. We scored early, which allows me to be more aggressive."
Kennedy was aided by the fact that he had his curveball working from the start of the game.
"It was good today," Kennedy said. "I threw it a lot for strikes. When you throw your curveball and offspeed stuff for strikes it's going to make your fastball and everything work a lot easier. Miggy got on board as soon as he saw it was down for strikes, and he kept calling it. I didn't shake too much tonight. He had a great game plan tonight, and I just wanted to follow it."
Kennedy threw just 89 pitches, and Gibson said he would have left him out there if the game had been closer, but took advantage of the lead to not run up Kennedy's innings. Kennedy has now thrown 146 frames, and the team would like to keep him in the 180 range.
Not known for his prowess at the plate, Kennedy helped himself out by collecting a pair of hits and driving home a run. It was the first multihit game of his young career.
"That makes your day even better," Kennedy said.
The D-backs, who have now won seven of their past 10 games, have not lost a series this month, and they will try to take two of three from the Nats on Sunday when they face rookie Stephen Strasburg.
"The good news is we're not quitting, and guys are looking to get better," said second baseman Kelly Johnson, who hit a solo homer in the third. "That's important."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.