Diamondbacks’ manager Kirk Gibson likes to spread playing time throughout the roster.
As a result, he cannot construct a set batting order and establish stability in the line-up. In this conversation, Gibson says he now likes outfielder David Peralta near the top of the lineup and indicated, prior to Tuesday’s game with the Detroit Tigers, second baseman Aaron Hill has been attacking the ball better at the plate.
For Tuesday’s game against Detroit, Gibson placed Peralta in the lead-off spot and put Hill behind him in the two hole. That combination paid dividends and helped the Diamondbacks defeat the Tigers 5-4, before 29,515 in Chase Field.
With the victory, the D-backs picked up their fourth win in the last five games and moved ahead of the San Diego Padres by two percentage points into third place in National League West Division.
In the effort, Peralta scored twice on two triples and Hill drove in three runs. With his two triples, Peralta was the fifth player, and sixth overall, to bang out two triples in one game in franchise history.
In the end, it was catcher Miguel Montero who rescued the Diamondbacks from what was, to that point, another disastrous night in the desert.
Montero’s two-run, bases-loaded single up the middle pushed the D-backs into a 5-4 lead in the eighth and from there, closer Addison Reed shut the door in the ninth inning. For Reed, it was his 24th save of the season and the effort appeared to exorcize some of early-season demons.
“Down 0-2, you just want to stay on the pitch,“ said Montero, who connected on that 0-2 delivery from reliever Ian Krol. “(Krol) caught me looking at two strikes and I was not going to strike out looking. Look, this was a great win and we battled hard against a very good team.”
If Hill was instrumental offensively, he turned in a web gem to end this one.
After Reed pitched around Miguel Cabrera with two outs in the ninth and then walked to the reigning American League MVP, Don Kelly smashed a grounder into the hole on the right side and the ball appeared headed into right field.
That’s when Hill dove, gloved the ball and threw a strike to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt at first from his knees. The throw beat Kelly to the bag and ended this one in dramatic style.
(Bench coach Alan Trammell) does such a great job in positioning fielders and utilizing a shift that we seem to be at the right place at the right time,” Hill said of his defensive gem. “Overall, this was a great win against a good team. Our pitching has been the key, lately. These guys are throwing very well and keeping us in games.”
With Peralta and Hill at the top of the lineup, the offense seems to have ignite.
After Hill read Detroit starter Rick Porcello’s sinker and smacked that 2-0 pitch into the left field stands for his eighth home run in the first inning, Peralta followed with triples in the third and sixth, scored two runs and help put Arizona ahead at 3-2.
That’s when reliable closer Brad Ziegler entered in the eighth and tried to keep the Tigers at bay.
With runners on first and second and one out, J. D. Martinez rifled a liner back to Ziegler, who caught the brunt of the smash in the rib cage. Martinez was credited with an infield single and that loaded the bases. After a quick look from trainer Ken Crenshaw, Ziegler remained in but gave up a two-run single to Torii Hunter and Detroit grabbed a 4-3 lead.
“It’s a bruise, a deep bruise,” Ziegler said. “I’ve had stuff like that happen before. In fact, just two weeks before I was traded over here, and with Oakland, Cabrera hit me on the shins with a hard line drive. I guess I was more disappointed in giving up the single to Hunter. But, it’s sore. It’s like someone hit you really hard in the chest.”
Fast forward to Montero’s game -winner in the bottom of that frame.
Yet, to reach that stage, the Diamondbacks had plenty of help. Trying to hold a one-run lead, Detroit relievers Phil Coke walked two hitters and Al Alburquerque walked Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases with two out. Tigers’ skipper Brad Ausmus then called for Krol but Montero took care of the rest.
Before Tuesday’s game, the Diamondbacks placed outfielder Cody Ross on the 15-day disabled list with a strain in his left calf.
Manager Kirk Gibson said an MRI revealed some damage and the D-backs took no chances. In 66 games this season, Ross was hitting .238 (38-for-160) with five doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs.
To take Ross’ roster spot, the D-backs called up outfielder Alfredo Marte from Triple-A Reno. With the Aces, Marte was hitting .326 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 75 games.
The recall represents his third stunt with the D-backs this season and before Tuesday’s game, Marte was hitting .227 at the major league level with three doubles and three RBIs.
In Tuesday’s game, Marte was used a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and fouled out to first.
On Wednesday afternoon, the D-backs wrap up the current home stand with a game against the Tigers at 12:40 p.m.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-6, 5.63 ERA) takes on righty Anibal Sanchez (6-4, 3.22). Then, it’s off on a six game road trip to Philadelphia and Cincinnati.