PHOENIX – Arizona left-hander Joe Saunders describes teammate Chris Young as unconscious at the plate.
Turns out, he's pretty close to the truth.
Young had three hits including his team-best fifth home run and Saunders pitched seven strong innings to help lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
"It's tough to think at the plate when you have 95 (mph) coming in every night," said Young, who is off to a .405 start with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBIs. "I've had times when I've thought about my mechanics too much. I'm trying not to do that as much as I can."
Young said he's adjusted his swing since last season, during which he hit .236 with139 strikeouts in 567 at-bats. But he isn't about to start sharing the details.
"My mechanics are a little different but I'm not going to start talking about every little thing because then I'll start thinking about it," Young said. "I just try to keep on a routine, not get too high, not get too low. I go out, throw it out there and whatever happens, happens."
Young gave the Diamondbacks a 4-1 lead in the sixth, lining a home run just over the 376-foot sign in left off Evan Meek after Miguel Montero had led off the inning with a bloop single to center.
"He's been in situations like that before. Now we'll see if we can consistently do it," said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. "He's not missing mistakes."
The two runs were more than enough for Saunders (1-0), who allowed a run on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
"It's nice as a starting pitcher to know if you give up one or two in the first you're not going to lose the ballgame," Saunders said. "I tried to keep the bullpen out of the game as long as possible because I know those guys have thrown a lot of innings recently."
Aaron Hill and Gerardo Parra also homered for the Diamondbacks, who have won two straight. Arizona is 25-4 in its last 29 home games.
Neil Walker drove in the run for the Pirates, who have lost six of seven. Pittsburgh has scored two runs or fewer in seven of 10 games this season.
"We haven't scored many runs but we hae been in just about every game," said Casey McGehee, who singled to help the Pirates score their only run. "I think there have been flashes and signs that we are swinging the bats a little bit better. I think we have too much offensive talent to continue this for too long."
Pirates starter Erik Bedard (0-3) scattered three hits over five innings but walked four, the final two of which helped the Diamondbacks take the lead in the fourth.
Paul Goldschmidt took ball four with two outs and went to second on a passed ball. Bedard then walked Jason Kubel and Ryan Roberts followed with a line single to right, scoring Goldschmidt to make it 2-1.
Bedard had walked only two batters in his first two starts spanning 12 innings.
"You don't like the inconsistency of the command, nor does he," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "Yet, is the second game he's left down 2-1 after five. We're not in a bad spot at 2-1."
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the first with a two-out rally. Andrew McCutchen hit a broken-bat single to left and stole second. McGehee legged out an infield hit to deep short before Walker lined a single to center, scoring McCutchen.
Hill tied the game in the bottom of the first with a one-out homer just over the Diamondbacks' left-field bullpen.
Parra hit his first career pinch-hit home run into the swimming pool beyond the right-field fence on Chris Resop's first pitch in the seventh to give the Diamondbacks a 5-1 lead.
NOTES: Saunders passed the 1,000 career inning mark in the seventh. ... Arizona has scored in the first inning in eight of 10 games this season. ... McCutchen is 3-for-5 on stolen base attempts. ... Diamondbacks RHP Takashi Saito, who is on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf, allowed two runs on two hits while throwing 16 pitches in an extended spring game Monday morning. ... Hill hit eight home runs in 2011 for Arizona and Toronto. ... Parra's homer was the 42nd to land in the swimming pool in Chase Field's 15-season history. ... Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy will look for his third straight win to start the season on Tuesday when he faces Pittsburgh RHP Jeff Karstens. ... The Pirates have yet to face consecutive same-handed starting pitchers this season, a streak that will end against Kennedy and fellow right-hander Daniel Hudson.