Byrnes, Young lead Diamondbacks over Cubs 12-3
If Friday is any indication, they might have found it at Wrigley Field—the same place their 2007 Diamondbacks wrapped up a first-round playoff sweep of the Chicago Cubs.
Byrnes had his first multihomer game in two years and drove in five runs and Young also homered while scoring four times Friday, leading the Diamondbacks to a 12-3 victory.
“It’s very important for me to finish the season strong. Same for C.Y.,” said Byrnes, whose previous multihomer game was May 30, 2007. The five RBIs fell one short of his career high set July 4, 2004.
“Both of us have had success in this league and we know we can have success again.”
Byrnes and Young had four hits apiece, and it marked only the second time all season the outfielders homered in the same game. The other was April 21.
In 2007, Byrnes batted .286 with 21 homers and 83 RBIs while Young, a rookie, had 32 homers and 68 RBIs. Each homered in the Game 3 clincher at Wrigley Field.
The Diamondbacks lost their next series to Colorado but expected to be strong for years. Instead, they missed the playoffs in 2008 and are in last place at 69-91 this season.
Byrnes missed two months this year with a broken hand and is batting .226 with eight homers and 31 RBIs. Young is hitting .214 with 14 homers and 39 RBIs. Both spent part of August at Triple-A Reno, Byrnes on a rehabilitation assignment and Young trying to find his hitting stroke.
“When we were down in Reno together, that was as much fun as I’ve had in two years,” said Byrnes, who missed most of 2008 with hamstring injuries. “It took that Reno experience to realize how much I love the game, because a lot of that love was lost the past two years. Being injured and scuffling and external factors … made baseball not fun.”
Young’s four hits Friday were as many as he had in the previous six games combined.
“We’re just focusing on this series right now to take something good into the offseason,” he said.
This also has been a disappointing season for the Cubs, who were expected to win a third consecutive NL Central title but instead are 82-77 and headed to a second-place finish behind St. Louis.
Since being mathematically eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday, Chicago has been outscored 24-5 in losing three games to last-place Pittsburgh and Arizona.
“You don’t like to get beat up like we have been,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “There’s no excuse for going out there and getting whomped on.”
Tom Gorzelanny(notes) (7-3), hoping to earn a spot in Chicago’s 2010 rotation, gave up seven runs and seven hits in three innings, one of only two bad starts for the left-hander since the Cubs acquired him July 30 from Pittsburgh.
“It’s not the way I wanted to go out,” Gorzelanny said. “But overall, I felt I pitched well after coming here.”
NOTES: At 22-20, Arizona is the only visiting NL team with a winning record at Wrigley Field. … Cubs 1B Derrek Lee(notes) missed his second straight game for what Piniella called a personal issue. Piniella expected Lee to be available Saturday. … It was a raw, damp day with a first-pitch temperature of 49 degrees. The average for Oct. 2 in Chicago is 70.