Gregorius' big night fuels D-backs' 50th win
Didi homers in two-RBI game; Montero, Kubel also connect
PHOENIX -- Mired in a 4-for-26 slump entering Saturday night's contest, Didi Gregorius was starting to wonder what he needed to do to turn his fortunes around.
Turns out, all he needed were his good-luck charms.
Playing in front of a large contingent of family from his home island of Curacao for just the second time in his brief Major League career, Gregorius turned in an inspired performance, launching his first homer in more than a month, driving in a pair of runs and flashing some nifty glovework as the D-backs erased a three-run deficit to take down the Brewers, 5-4, at Chase Field.
"It's a dream come true," Gregorius said. "For me, it's amazing to see them, and for them to get to see me play in the Majors, it's just awesome."
Flown in from more than 4,000 miles away, Gregorius' parents, brother, nephew and girlfriend were in attendance Saturday. The only other time his family had seen him play in the big leagues came last September in Miami when he was with the Reds. Not surprisingly, Gregorius had another memorable night that game, batting 3-for-5 while recording his first MLB RBI.
"They're definitely coming to tomorrow's game," Gregorius said, laughing. "That's for sure."
Saturday's victory marked Arizona's 50th of the season and its sixth straight this year over the Brewers, who for the third day in a row outhit the D-backs and still lost. The Dodgers also won Saturday, so Arizona couldn't build on its 2 1/2-game lead in the division, but that didn't take away from Gregorius' big night.
Trailing by one in the seventh with the bases loaded after the two batters before him walked, the rookie drove a screamer through the right side of the infield off John Axford to tie the game at 4. The next batter, pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, drew a walk to bring in the winning run.
"I saw he was throwing a lot of balls," Gregorius said. "He was struggling with his command, so of course he was going to throw a fastball, and thankfully I got the hit."
One inning prior, Gregorius cut into the club's deficit by depositing a Kyle Lohse fastball into the right-field seats for his first long ball since May 27. Upon rounding the bases and touching home plate, Gregorius pointed at the stands to his family, who were all on their feet cheering.
"It was special," he said. "I am proud that we got a 'W' and we did it in front of my family."
Gregorius capped off his impressive game by flashing some leather in the ninth inning, ranging to his right toward third base, backhanding a grounder and throwing out Rickie Weeks at first.
"That's difficult," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's got a good arm and he got just enough on it. You've watched him this year, you've seen what he can do. He makes it look routine, but it's not an easy play at all."
For his efforts, Gregorius was given the Player of the Game Award by his teammates, a new honor created by Martin Prado that comes with a child's plastic dinosaur hat.
"I don't know what it is, it's something on top of my head, but I'm proud to wear it," Gregorius said.
Aside from the young shortstop, Miguel Montero and Jason Kubel also provided a bit of power Saturday, each tallying solo homers off Lohse, who retired the first 14 batters he faced before allowing five runs on five hits over his final 1 2/3 innings of work.
"I had good stuff going, it's just that mistakes were made and hit out of the park, and after that I couldn't control," Lohse said. "You make mistakes and you pay for it. They're big league hitters. You fall behind and make the wrong pitch, they're going to hit it hard and sometimes it goes out."
Making his sixth start since joining the rotation, D-backs right-hander Randall Delgado pitched well again, but received some shaky defense behind him. The Brewers jumped on the board first in the second inning after Aaron Hill was unable to snag a low line drive off the bat of Jeff Bianchi. Then in the sixth, a Montero passed ball allowed another run to score.
"Delgado pitched well, we didn't play very good behind him," Gibson said. "Hill probably should've had that play on the first run and the ball that got to the backstop. That's not us, that's not what you do."
The only runs Delgado allowed on his own came when Jonathan Lucroy hit his fifth home run in his last seven games, a two-run shot to left. Delgado finished his outing allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits over six innings. The 23-year-old now has a 3.65 ERA as a starter this season.
"I feel good with what I'm doing, I'm just upset about the home run," he said. "It's all right though. I did what I wanted to, kept the game close and gave our team a chance to win."
Brad Ziegler worked a clean ninth for his third save of the season. The D-backs, who reached the 50-win mark prior to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2003, will go for the series and season sweep Sunday in their final game before the break.