Upton keys five-run sixth as D-backs end skid

Upton keys five-run sixth as D-backs end skid

Upton keys five-run sixth as D-backs end skid
PHOENIX -- With one swing of his bat, Justin Upton turned the boos to cheers.

Upton's two-run triple keyed a five-run sixth inning as the D-backs rallied to beat the Dodgers, 5-3, on Friday night at Chase Field.

The win snapped Arizona's six-game losing streak and helped the D-backs avoid falling eight games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West.

"The D-backs have obviously had their ups and downs of late, but they are a very good team," Dodgers third baseman Jerry Hairston said. "They played well tonight."

The D-backs, though, seemed on their way to defeat No. 7 through the first five innings as Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw continued his career dominance over them.

Kershaw came into the game with a 7-2 mark in 11 starts against the D-backs, and he held them to one hit through five innings.

"He's tough," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "You've just got to scrap it out."

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had built a 2-0 lead against Josh Collmenter, scoring an unearned run in the third and getting a homer from Adam Kennedy in the fourth.

It all unraveled for Kershaw in the sixth.

Henry Blanco led off with a walk, and one out later, Willie Bloomquist singled to right, and Aaron Hill followed with a bloop single to score Blanco and make the score 2-1.

That brought Upton to the plate. Upton has felt the wrath of the fans during this losing streak, being booed the previous two games, but when he lined a triple down the left-field line to score two and give Arizona a 3-2 lead, the fans were on their feet.

"It's always nice to get a big hit for your team and get a good reaction," Upton said.

That kind of support should be a given, according to Gibson.

"Honestly, home fans, they shouldn't be booing the kid, period," Gibson said. "You've got to stick behind him and encourage him to play through the tough times. He's been playing hard. Can't say enough about him. He's worked on every aspect of his game. Though he's been struggling at the plate, he's run hard, he's been way more aggressive in the outfield, he's been working on it daily. He's had a real good attitude about it."

Jason Kubel capped the inning and sent Kershaw to the showers with an RBI double to left-center that increased the Arizona lead to 4-2. Kubel would eventually come around and score on a wild pitch to make it 5-2.

"I just didn't really get ahead of anybody all night," Kershaw said. "I didn't have fastball command, and in the sixth inning I walked the leadoff guy, they got some hits, and before you know it, we're down. Just a rough inning, really. I didn't pitch very well, the results were OK, I was behind a lot of hitters, getting some guys to chase, making one good pitch an at-bat to get a guy out. I was fighting uphill the whole day."

It seems like the D-backs have been fighting an uphill battle all year as well, so it figured that they were not going to be able to just coast to a win.

Reliever Bryan Shaw allowed a walk and three straight singles to open the seventh as the Dodgers pulled to within 5-3 and had the bases loaded with nobody out.

Left-hander Mike Zagurski came in and struck out pinch-hitter Hairston, and James Loney then flied out to left and Kubel fired to the plate to catch Mark Ellis trying to tag up and score to end the threat.

"Zagurski was outstanding," Gibson said. "That was kind of a new fire that he got into tonight. I just said, 'Hey, Bronco, just don't even pay attention to those guys on the bases. Just act like you're throwing a bullpen and execute your pitches.' He did a great job. He came through big for us."

The rally and stellar relief allowed Collmenter (1-2) to earn his first win of the season. He allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits and struck out six.

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.