Kubel clocks homer in 11th to pick up D-backs

Kubel clocks homer in 11th to pick up D-backs

Kubel clocks homer in 11th to pick up D-backs
LOS ANGELES -- It would not be a surprise if Jason Kubel celebrated the clock striking midnight Friday night like it was New Year's Eve.

August was a month of struggles at the plate that the D-backs left fielder would like to forget.

Kubel did, however, end the month on a positive note as his 11th-inning homer off Matt Guerrier proved to be the difference as the D-backs beat the Dodgers, 4-3, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

The D-backs have won eight straight games against the Dodgers and are 6-1 at Dodger Stadium this year, and there are still two games left in this four-game set.

'Well, we've got to beat somebody," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, whose team had lost six straight prior to this series. "Is that eight in a row? I hope we can make it nine. They're a very good team. We've had good pitching and we've played good defensive baseball and kept it close and scratched these two wins out."

With a loss by the Giants, the D-backs moved to within 8 1/2 games of first place in the National League West.

Kubel was 0-for-3 with a walk when he stepped to the plate against Guerrier to lead off the 11th.

"A cutter in," he said of the 1-1 pitch he hit out. "They'd been throwing me inside all game and I guess finally decided to get the head out on one. Just happy I got it pretty good."

Said Guerrier, who made his first appearance after spending four months on the disabled list with an elbow injury: "I just didn't get it in enough. I know him well. I played with him. That is what he likes to do."

Kubel entered August with a .290 batting average and in the first 30 days of the month he hit just .155 with four homers and eight RBIs.

"For a while I was chasing everything and I stopped doing that and just wasn't making the contact like I'd like to," Kubel said. "I'm hoping this one tonight can give me a little more confidence going forward."

For the first five innings, it did not look like the D-backs would need extra innings to win this one.

Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Andre Ethier lost Chris Johnson's fly ball in the twilight. Instead of being an inning-ending easy flyout, it wound up dropping behind Ethier for a triple and Miguel Montero came all the way around from first to score.

D-backs starter Trevor Cahill helped his own cause in the fifth when his one-out single up the middle scored Johnson, who had led off the inning with a double.

One out later, Aaron Hill doubled to right-center to score Cahill and the D-backs went ahead, 3-0.

Cahill sailed through the first four innings allowing just one hit.

But after retiring the first two hitters in the fifth, Cahill found himself in a jam as Luis Cruz singled to right, A.J. Elllis was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Nick Punto beat out an infield dribbler to third.

That loaded the bases, and Mark Ellis followed with a ground ball through the hole at short to score Cruz and A.J. Ellis and cut the Arizona lead to 3-2.

The lead evaporated one inning later.

Matt Kemp drew a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third on a flyout to right.

With two outs and the left-handed-hitting Ethier at the plate, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson brought in southpaw Mike Zagurski to pitch. Ethier managed to bloop a single to left that scored Kemp and tied the game at 3.

"He made great pitches on Ethier," Gibson said of Zagurski. "He made a good pitch and Ethier just kind of fisted it out there and they tied it up."

Gibson used six relievers and they combined to work 5 1/3 scoreless innings with J.J. Putz closing things out for his 28th save.

"The bullpen was just outstanding for us again," Gibson said.

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.