Stephen Drew is doing what he can to give his team a chance in these types of ballgames.
On Sunday, while the Diamondbacks offense seemed baffled by Florida Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, Drew kept the team within striking distance with a two-hit game, the same number of hits the rest of the offense had combined.
He hit a solo homer into the pool in left field in the bottom of the first inning, then hit a leadoff double in the sixth and eventually scored on a Conor Jackson ground-out.
The leadoff home run was the fourth of the season by a Diamondbacks player and the second by Drew. The double gave Drew his team-leading 41st multihit game of the season.
“It’s just a matter of getting pitches to hit,” Drew said. “You try to stay locked down when you get your pitch and put good swings on it.
“That’s (been) the case, and hopefully it continues throughout the rest of the year.”
Drew has made a habit of doing well against pitchers who are on their game. On Aug. 17, Drew had the team’s only two hits when Arizona was shut out by Roy Oswalt and Jose Valverde in Houston.
Drew’s success has coincided with his move to the leadoff spot.
He is batting .313 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 51 games hitting leadoff.
“He’s swinging the bat really well,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Billy Buckner was called up from Triple-A Tucson on Sunday for insurance in case Doug Davis needed an early replacement.
Davis’ ribs had been bothering him earlier this week, but it didn’t prevent him from starting on Sunday. Buckner was brought up in the event that the Diamondbacks needed a long reliever.
Davis ended up going seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, and reported no problems.
“The training staff worked real hard on me for four straight days,” Davis said.
“Knuckle-deep (massages), so it wasn’t fun, but they got me going to where I could pitch (Sunday).”
Doug Slaten was optioned to the minors to make room for Buckner on the roster. Melvin wasn’t definite with his plans, but Slaten will be back by Sept. 1 at the latest.
That is the day rosters expand from 25- to 40-player limits.
EXPANSION A POSITIVE
Melvin is looking forward to the day the roster expands because it gives him more flexibility.
He said it’s tough putting Chris Burke in any game early because he is so versatile on the bench, and adding an extra infielder or right-handed bat would give Melvin the luxury of playing Burke when he wants.
“In September, an infielder, especially a guy that can play in the middle (second base and shortstop), would help,” Melvin said.
Presidential hopeful John McCain was in attendance and received a mixed reception.
A fly ball went over Adam Dunn’s head in right field for a ground-rule double in the ninth. It’s at least the third ball on this homestand that either Justin Upton or Alex Romero likely would have caught.