The Arizona Diamondbacks couldn’t have given Kirk Gibson a much better performance in his first home opener as the team’s manager. The hot-hitting Diamondbacks will look to follow up that effort Saturday night with a second straight victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The club’s bench coach since 2007, Gibson took over as Diamondbacks manager when A.J. Hinch was fired July 1. Arizona, which finished 34-49 under Gibson, dropped three of four to open 2011 before ending a three-game skid with 12 hits in Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.
Arizona (3-3) was even more impressive at the plate in Friday’s 13-2 victory, with Justin Upton(notes), Kelly Johnson(notes) and Chris Young hitting homers off reliever Matt Maloney(notes) in the team’s last two at-bats to help the club finish with a season-high 13 hits.
The Diamondbacks ended an eight-game home losing streak to Cincinnati (5-2), which has dropped two straight. It was the highest-scoring home opener for the Diamondbacks in their 14-year existence.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Gibson said. “You wish they could all be this way but it doesn’t happen. We know we’re in for a big fight (Saturday).”
The 24-year-old right-hander went 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA in six home starts last season after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox on July 30. However, Hudson’s lone home loss in an Diamondbacks uniform was a 6-2 defeat to the Reds on Aug. 17.
Hudson is hoping a return home can help him move past last Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Colorado. He pitched respectably, allowing three runs in six innings, but got charged with the defeat.
Probable Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo(notes) (1-0, 3.86) pitched similarly but with a better result in his season debut, overcoming a case of mononucleosis that hindered him during spring training.
The veteran right-hander struck out five while surrendering three runs and six hits - all for extra bases - over seven innings of Sunday’s 12-3 win over Milwaukee.
Arroyo threw 65 of his 87 pitches for strikes.
“He’s in good shape. He knows how to pace himself and knows his body, probably as well as anybody I’ve had,” manager Dusty Baker told the Reds’ official website. “He takes pride in winning, innings pitched and going deep in ballgames.”
Arroyo, 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against Arizona last season including the Aug. 17 matchup, will try to give the Reds’ bullpen a much-needed rest after it logged 11 innings in the last three games.
Cincinnati’s offense has tapered off in the last two games - scoring twice in each contest - after averaging 8.6 runs during a 5-0 start, but shortstop Paul Janish(notes) and reigning NL MVP Joey Votto(notes) continue to produce.
Janish is batting .455 after recording his fourth multihit game of the season Friday, while Votto has four consecutive two-hit games after going deep in the ninth inning of the series opener.