Bullpen comes up big for D-backs

Relievers escape jams in sixth, seventh, eighth innings to maintain lead

Bullpen comes up big for D-backs

PITTSBURGH -- There was plenty of stress to go around Monday night at PNC Park as the D-backs' bullpen had to pitch its way out of jams in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings en route to a 4-1 win over the Pirates.

"It just seemed like there were a lot of guys on base," Arizona reliever Daniel Hudson said. "The thing with the Pirates is it seems like they're always scrapping and trying to fight back. They don't really lay over. You don't get to almost 70 wins at this point by laying over. We know we've got to make quality pitches no matter the score or situation. Thankfully, we were able to get some outs with guys on base."

It started in the sixth, when D-backs starter Jeremy Hellickson, who was battling dehydration after being sick to his stomach Sunday night, began tightening up in his glute muscle. He was removed in favor of Randall Delgado with runners at first and second and one out.

Hellickson shaken up

Delgado, who had been activated earlier in the day from the DL after having made just two rehab appearances, retired the next two batters to end the threat.

One inning later, Addison Reed was summoned in relief of Keith Hessler with a runner on first. Reed made things more interesting by proceeding to load the bases before retiring Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte to keep the game at 4-1.

"We went in and did what we're supposed to do," Reed said. "We're always ready. In a perfect world, you'd want a guy to come in and do the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, but it doesn't always happen that way. We got through it."

Hudson started the eighth, and after retiring the first two batters, he gave up back-to-back singles before striking out Pedro Alvarez.

Hudson strikes out Alvarez

"I don't think it was just about us," Hudson said of the bullpen. "[Hellickson] threw the ball well. We were just trying to make sure we kept that lead for him and held on to the W for him."

Closer Brad Ziegler allowed a leadoff walk in the ninth, but the threat level did not match the previous innings as he was able to get a double play and another groundout to notch the save.

Ziegler earns the save

"High stress for everybody, right?" manager Chip Hale said with a smile. "It was exciting baseball with the crowd and everybody getting fired up about it, but Reeder did a great job of pitching out of that, and Huddy did the same thing. That's why they're in those spots -- they can handle the pressure and they can make the pitches that need to be made. Some nights they're going to hang a pitch and a guy is going to get it. That's just baseball. Tonight our guys made the right pitches when they needed to."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.