D-backs use six-run fourth inning to beat Cubs

D-backs use six-run fourth to beat Cubs

D-backs use six-run fourth inning to beat Cubs
PHOENIX -- When the D-backs finished their last road trip with a 2-4 mark and were shut out three times, the question was: What was wrong with the offense?

Now, it seems the question is: Can anyone stop the Arizona offense?

The D-backs pounded out 16 hits to roll past the Cubs, 10-5, on Saturday night at Chase Field.

"It's a crazy game," Arizona outfielder Justin Upton said. "We kept a positive attitude through the whole thing. Even when we were getting shut out, we were still putting good at-bats together we just weren't getting it done. Now we're still putting together good at-bats and the balls are falling for us."

The win was the third in a row for the D-backs, who have won four of the five games on a homestand that concludes Sunday.

The biggest difference between the struggles on the road trip and the success at home is clearly an offense that appears to be clicking on all cylinders.

Against the Rangers and Angels on the road trip, the D-backs scored a total of 17 runs, 11 of which came in one game.

In the five games so far at home against the Mariners and Cubs, the D-backs have scored 46 runs.

"You just see better approaches, swings," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They're hitting mistakes, for sure. We're driving the ball like we knew we could. It just took us a while to get going."

And when the D-backs offense is rolling, there's a good chance that Upton is leading the charge.

"He's much more aggressive," Gibson said. "If you watch him in batting practice, watch his swings, he's getting a good load now. He's kind of found his ready position. His getting back way better, he's staying back and then moving to the ball."

Upton began to swing the bat a little better earlier this month, but he has exploded over the last three games, going 6-for-11 with two homers and six RBIs.

"I'm just getting good balls to hit," Upton said. "I was kind of fighting for it early on, fighting for my hits and I'm in one of those little streaks where I'm getting good balls to hit."

It's a good thing the D-backs were able to score plenty of runs on Saturday, because it was a struggle for starter Ian Kennedy, who never seemed to be able to get into rhythm on the mound.

"My command was all over the place," Kennedy said. "I was trying to get ahead of guys, but my command was all over the place."

Despite being given a 7-2 lead, Kennedy was not able to get through the fifth inning, which was a concern given the fact that the D-backs bullpen has been worked hard recently.

"I knew our bullpen needed a rest, so it's just terrible for me to do that," Kennedy said of his short outing. "Our offense scored a lot of runs, which is really great and our bullpen stepped it up. I was trying to go out there and pitch a while. I was terrible tonight."

Cubs starter Paul Maholm had an even more frustrating night.

The left-hander smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to give his team a 2-1 lead, but then he was unable to get through the bottom half as the D-backs capitalized on an error by Luis Valbuena to put up six runs and take a 7-2 lead.

With one out and runners at first and third, Aaron Hill hit a grounder to third that had Valbuena fielded cleanly, might have resulted in an inning-ending double play. Instead, he booted the ball and threw wildly to first, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue.

"You make a pitch and think you're getting out and then all hell broke loose," Maholm said. "I'm not a strikeout guy."

The win moved the D-backs (36-35) above .500 for the first time since May 4.

"We dug ourselves a hole, we knew we were a hole and we were going to have to scrap to get out of it," Upton said. "We still have a long season ahead of us and we still have to play good baseball. We can be happy about it and be complacent or we can push to be more games over .500."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.