WASHINGTON -- Kirk Gibson knows a little something about hitting home runs in big spots, and the interim manager sure is enjoying this power surge by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Miguel Montero hit two of Arizona's four homers and the Diamondbacks beat the Washington Nationals 9-2 on Saturday night.Gerardo Parra and Kelly Johnson also went deep for Arizona, which tied a major league record by connecting for four consecutive homers on Wednesday."That's a good way to live," Gibson said with a chuckle.Montero, who hit the second of the four on Wednesday, and Parra went deep in the second against Jason Marquis (0-5). Montero belted a two-run drive and Parra added a two-out solo to make it 3-0.Montero's first homer came on a 3-0 count."I think everybody probably thinks it's easy to hit 3-0," Gibson said. "But it's something you have to acquire a feel for because energy builds up within your body when you get ahead in the count. Instead of just staying nice and relaxed and keeping your swing compact, you tend to maybe overswing and jump at the ball a little bit."Initially Montero didn't get the green light from Gibson and did a double-take."He didn't give it to me and then I was like, 'Oh, that's weird because he always gives it to me.' So then I took a double-check and he did," Montero said.Ryan Zimmerman hit his 23rd homer in the bottom half for Washington, but Johnson responded with his 18th in the fourth for a 4-1 Arizona lead."Jumping on guys early is the ideal way to do it," Johnson said. "The homers are huge. I think it kind of deflated them just a tad at the beginning there."Ian Kennedy pitched seven innings for Arizona in his longest start since June 9. He allowed two runs and five hits, and also contributed a career-high two hits at the plate."We took over the game and scored early, which allows me to be more aggressive," he said. "Thanks to my offense and Miggy called a great game -- just wanted to follow that game plan."Adam Kennedy also singled in a run for Washington, which has lost six of seven.Marquis gave up five runs and seven hits in four-plus innings. His ERA actually decreased nearly a full run, to 14.33.Marquis, a winner in just one of his last 14 starts, has allowed 10 runs in eight innings over two outings since returning from right elbow surgery."You want to go out there and give your team a chance to compete and not embarrass yourself," Marquis said. "It's eating me alive inside."Marquis, who agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with Washington in the offseason, has been a major disappointment."It's a results-oriented business, you know, and we've got to get better results," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he was confident of signing 17-year-old Bryce Harper, the top pick in June's draft, by the Monday midnight deadline. "It's a player we really want in the organization, and the talks and negotiations are always difficult, always unique. This is a unique situation," Rizzo said. ... The Diamondbacks are negotiating to play their first two games of 2011 in Taiwan against San Francisco. Representatives of the players' association met with the team on Friday. They've already met with the Giants.