Upton helps Diamondbacks tip AthleticsJun 19, 2008 - 11:59 PM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Justin Upton has been striking out at an alarming rate, so much so that there have been whispers he may be demoted to the minor leagues once the injured Eric Byrnes is set to return. On Thursday, however, he did not whiff at the chance to avoid a possible demotion.
The struggling former first overall pick in the 2005 draft collected two hits and blasted an eighth-inning solo home run to help the Arizona Diamondbacks edge the Oakland Athletics, 2-1, and take the rubber match of their three-game set.
The homer was Upton's ninth of the season and first since May 31.
"It was a great feeling because these guys have been carrying me and picking me up because I have been struggling lately," Upton said. "But it is a good feeling being able to help out."
Upton was 2-for-13 on the six-game homestand and entered Thursday hitting a paltry .083 this month.
"I didn't realize it was going to go, so I was high-tailing it, trying to get as many bases as I could. It was exciting to see it go out," Upton said of the home run. "It is always tough, but in the end, this is a game where you know you are going to fail a lot, so it is something you have to live with. Hopefully, today will help turn it around."
"The way he has been swinging, it is nice to get a game like that," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "But still, he draws a walk, gets a double, really tried to lay off the pitches away, and for a kid to have that kind of presence of mind each and every at-bat after going through some struggles, at 20 years old, that just doesn't happen."
Upton's blast off Oakland reliever Keith Foulke (0-2) snapped a 1-1 tie and salvaged a strong outing by starter Doug Davis, who struck out a season-high eight batters in six innings.
"I felt good out there and had everything working for me like last time," Davis said. "Executing and getting ahead was the main thing, and then getting strike one and being able to expand the zone from there."
"Doug pitched pretty much the way he did last time out," Melvin said. "The ball he gave up for a run was kind of a Bermuda Triangle-type of thing. He shouldn't have given up a run, and too bad we couldn't have given him more support."
With the game scoreless in the fourth, Upton led off with a double and Conor Jackson connected for a one-out single off Oakland starter Greg Smith. After Mark Reynolds walked, Chris Young lifted a sacrifice fly to give Arizona a 1-0 advantage.
"In the fourth, they got guys on base, if you want to call it a jam," Smith said. "Upton hit a good pitch and Conor's was a 3-2 curveball and he got a good-enough swing on it to get into the hole. I put the third guy on myself, and that was my fault.
"The two other guys are good hitters. They found a hole and got something going. I felt like I controlled the damage a bit allowing only one run."
In the sixth, Jack Cust blooped an RBI single to left field that hit the line in front of a diving Chris Burke, scoring Mark Ellis to tie the game. Davis then got Bobby Crosby to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Smith threw five innings, allowing one run and three hits against his former organization. A sixth-round pick of Arizona in 2005, he was one of six prospects sent to Oakland in a blockbuster deal for Dan Haren this past winter.
"It was a little weird at first the past two days, but it became a normal start against any other team trying to get a win," Smith said.
"He was good," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "He had thrown the ball pretty consistent the whole game. He pitched well enough to win, but we didn't get him any runs."
Haren pitched against his former team on Wednesday and responded by stifling the Athletics with seven brilliant innings in a lopsided win.
Tony Pena (1-1) tossed a perfect eighth and Brandon Lyon worked the ninth to record his 15th save for the Diamondbacks.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 0
ARIZONA 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 x 2 5 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: OAK - GREG SMITH, BRAD ZIEGLER (6TH), ALAN EMBREE (7TH), KEITH
FOULKE (8TH) AND ROB BOWEN
ARI - DOUG DAVIS, CHAD QUALLS (7TH), TONY PENA (8TH),
BRANDON LYON (9TH)
Jun 19 6:22 PM
AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY JUSTIN UPTON (9) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
OUT IN THE 8TH OFF KEITH FOULKE.
CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1, ARIZONA 2
DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: O HUDSON (.296, 0-FOR-3)
Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 2 Bot 8, 0 OutsJun 19 6:05 PM
AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY JACK CUST SCORED MARK ELLIS.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CUST ON FIRST, R SWEENEY ON SECOND, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 1
ARIZONA 1 TOP, 6TH
DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.257, 0-FOR-2)
Athletics 1, Diamondbacks 1 Top 6, 0 OutsJun 19 5:22 PM
AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
SACRIFICE FLY BY CHRIS YOUNG SCORED JUSTIN UPTON.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M REYNOLDS ON SECOND, C JACKSON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 0
ARIZONA 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C SNYDER (.244, 0-FOR-1)
Athletics 0, Diamondbacks 1 Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 19 4:48 PM
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