Photo: The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX, Ariz. – The Arizona Diamondbacks seemed to have found a winning formula just two days into the new season.
The DBacks jumped out early, starter Daniel Hudson (2-0) pitched into the seventh inning and the bullpen shut things down again as Arizona beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Saturday.
Manager Kirk Gibson made another lineup switch that proved to pay off. Aaron Hill, batting in the number two hole, hit two home runs, a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast in the second, to give the Diamondbacks and early 4-0 lead.
“Johnny Mac [John McDonald] said I should bat Aaron eight once a week to piss him off,” Manager Kirk Gibson said with a chuckle. “He played great today. We have a versatile lineup. Initially at the first part of the year we will move some guys around and try to figure out what the best place for everybody is.”
It was Hill’s fourth multi-home run game in his career, his first since 2010.
“I just told myself to relax,” Hill said. “Yesterday I was trying to hit the ball a little too hard. I got some good pitches to hit and lucky I did some damage.”
Hill’s first home run was the third time a Diamondback went deep in the first inning this season. Arizona hit 19 first inning home runs last year.
“I think it’s special,” Hill said of the team’s versatility. “There are no egos in this room. If you’re not having a good day offensively, you can do something on the field. This team is leaving proof of that.”
The Diamondbacks roughed up another Giants starter. Madison Bumgarner (0-1) only pitched four innings, giving four runs on seven hits. Arizona has now won seven straight games over San Francisco, dating back to last season.
“It coincidence,” Chris Young said. “Even though you would like to have the same intensity against every team, I’m sure deep inside with the majority of us you create a little more fire under you when you’re playing teams in your division.”
Hudson pitched well in his season debut, striking out four and giving up four hits over six and two thirds innings. However, he did make two mistakes. Pablo Sandoval connected with a two-run blast in the fourth the cut the DBacks lead to 4-2. Hudson then left a slider out over the plate that Brett Pill put in the left field bleachers, bringing the Giants within a run.
“There are a couple things I didn’t do very well,” Hudson said. “Obviously the two mistakes, I paid for it. I didn’t get strike one enough. It’s something to work on moving forward.”
The bullpen was shaper than last night. David Hernandez was masterful again in the 8th and JJ Putz struck out two in the 9th to record his second save in as many days.
Arizona is now 2-0 for only the fourth time in club history and the first time in 10 years. The Diamondbacks will have a chance to a 3-0 for just the second time in franchise history with a sweep of the Giants tomorrow. Josh Collmenter is on the mound against Matt Cain. First pitch is at 1:10 on Fox Sports Arizona.