D-backs ride seven-run sixth to sweep of Astros

D-backs ride seven-run sixth to sweep of Astros

D-backs ride seven-run sixth to sweep of Astros
PHOENIX -- A week ago, the D-backs stared down a low point in their season when the bottom-dwelling Cubs outscored them by 12 runs over a three-game sweep coming out of the All-Star break.

The club admitted it squandered a chance to take advantage of the schedule.

Now, just seven days later, the D-backs didn't let another opportunity to string wins together against a struggling team slip away.

On the back of a seven-run sixth inning -- highlighted by a three-run homer by Chris Young -- the D-backs finished off a sweep of the Astros on Sunday, 8-2, at Chase Field.

"We want to get above .500, it's very important to do that in this homestand," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We have to keep pushing that way."

The club scored 33 runs over the three-game series and smashed six home runs. During their previous seven games, the D-backs had scored 21 runs.

"It's huge for us, just because we did struggle with the offense the week before," Young said. "To get everything clicking on all cylinders is nice."

On the mound for the D-backs in his first outing since returning to the rotation in place of Trevor Bauer, right-hander Josh Collmenter continued his resurgence, tossing six strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits.

"I wasn't as efficient as I needed to be, but all in all, I got the job done," Collmenter said. "Guys came through again with the offense too. They love hitting at Chase Field. It's great, it takes the pressure off you when you know the guys are going to go out there and put together quality at-bats."

Since the beginning of June, Collmenter has surrendered just five runs over 25 1/3 innings for a 1.78 ERA. At the beginning of the season, he gave up 20 runs in his first 18 1/3 innings of the year.

"It was just a really good effort from him today," Gibson said. "He's really solid and he's really hard to rattle in situations. They get the runs, then he cuts it off. He just does so many things well."

As an encore to his three-homer game on Saturday, Jason Kubel hit a solo shot off the right-field foul pole in his first at-bat in the second inning on Sunday. The RBI gave him 500 for his career.

"Guys were talking about if he had mythical powers to make that ball come back fair and hit the pole," Collmenter said. "He's starting to become a cult figure."

After missing the first two games of the week in Cincinnati with a tweaked hamstring, Kubel, who went 3-for-4 with a triple and single on Sunday, totaled six home runs and 11 RBIs in five games to finish the week.

"It's scary impressive," Young said. "He's helping the team out so much. A lot of guys, when they get into a streak like that, try to do too much, but he's staying with his approach and putting the ball all over the field."

The game remained tied 1-1 until the sixth inning when Collmenter served up consecutive doubles to put the Astros ahead, 2-1.

Houston nearly got a third run, but Justin Maxwell, who homered earlier in the game, missed an attempted suicide squeeze and the D-backs caught Chris Johnson in a rundown between third and home.

The momentum change proved large as the D-backs responded in a big way in their half of the sixth.

With the bases loaded and one out, Miguel Montero grounded a ball up the middle, but Marwin Gonzalez's throw to second base was dropped by Jose Altuve and two runs scored, giving the D-backs their first lead of the game, 3-2.

"I tried to barehand it," Altuve said. "At that moment I thought I could not get it with my glove. I was just trying to catch it. I tried my best but I could not make the play. At that moment, I thought that was the only chance I had."

One batter later, Young put the game out of reach with his three-run bomb to left field.

"All the guys came through there," Young said. "It gave me an opportunity to make something happen and I got a pitch left over the plate. I'm seeing the ball better, getting more consistent at-bats and taking advantage of it."

Aaron Hill extended his hitting streak to 13 games in his 1,000th career regular-season game.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.