Valverde finished a strong performance by
and helped the Diamondbacks hold on for a 4-2 victory over the
in the rubber game of a three-game series.
Arizona's pitching is typified by the dominance of starters
, who have been beset by injuries this season. But Valverde is emerging as a strong closer as he continued his remarkable run in June.
The 23-year-old Dominican, who made his major league debut on June 1, has five saves in as many chances in a 15-day span. He has allowed just one run and two hits in six innings.
"Jose doesn't seem to let things bother him," Arizona manager
said. "He's pitching with a lot of confidence right now and is expecting to get the ball in those situations. And rightfully so."
Valverde pitched a hitless ninth inning on Wednesday for his fourth save and duplicated the feat in this game. Batista left after allowing a leadoff double to
in the ninth and Brenly called on Valverde.
"We wanted to get eight innings out of Miguel and then turn it over to
to finish," Brenly said. "We had every intention of doing that after the eighth inning, and Miguel talked me into letting him go back out there. We told him that if anybody gets on base, we're going to come get you."
Valverde needed just 10 pitches to end the game. The hard-throwing righthander struck out
before retiring pinch hitters Greg Zaun and
to secure Arizona's fourth win in five games.
Batista (5-3) allowed just two runs and seven hits while striking out seven. He threw 70 of 105 pitches for strikes and walked one.
"That was as close to what we could have wished for going into today as you could get," Brenly said. "He was dazzling at times. His ball was darting all over the place tonight. He was throwing some fastballs by real good fastball hitters."
Batista has won five of his last six decisions after losing his first two this season.
"I feel better because the more I've been pitching, the more I am getting my command and hitting the corners better," he said. "Tonight was the best night I've felt in a long time. I just had a great night."
Redding pitched well, despite facing a lineup that featured three switch-hitters and four lefties in the top seven.
"That's a tough lineup to face when you've got to face lefthanded hitters, 1-7," the righthander said. "You can't pitch them all the same way or they'll start picking up on your patterns."
opened the game with a single and, after Redding struck out
, Gonzalez drove a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for his second opposite-field homer in as many games.
"You've got to pitch me away and fortunately in this ballpark, you don't really have to swing hard, you just gotta get good passes at the ball," he said. "He threw me a fastball away and I was able to get enough of it to get it into the left field stands. That one felt a lot better than the one I hit yesterday."
started the second inning with a triple and scored on Barajas' sacrifice fly for a 3-0 cushion.
Batista's only trouble came in the second inning, when he gave up a two-out single to
and a double to
. Redding helped himself with a single to plate both runners and get the Astros within 3-2.
Arizona added an insurance run in the fourth after
opened the inning with singles. Finley's sacrifice fly made it 4-2.
Batista retired the next 10 batters before
led off the sixth with a single.
reached on an infield single, but Batista did not allow another hit until Ensberg's double in the ninth.