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Inside the Box: Saunders goes 8.2 innings in win

After every Arizona Diamondbacks game we’ll examine the
box score and
provide you with instant analysis. So it’s time to go
Inside the Box for
September 18, 2011: Diamondbacks 5, Padres 1

The Good:

Starter Joe Saunders went out with a mission on Sunday. His team was on a three-game slide and is working to clinch the NL West. They needed a win and a big day from a starter and Saunders gave it to them. In his 8.2 innings, Saunders only gave up one earned run on seven hits. He would have thrown a complete game, but got in some trouble in the ninth. J.J. Putz finished the game on the final out.

The D-backs had been struggling at the plate over the last three games, but Sunday they were back to their old selves. The D-backs combined for 12 hits, including five runs, two of which were home runs.

The Bad:

The D-backs needed better than a .500 road trip. They may be in the lead of the NL West, but a losing streak could bring the San Francisco Giants within striking distance. Considering that the D-backs still have another series with the Giants and the need to go into the series with as large of a lead as possible is key.

The Ugly:

The D-backs magic number is now five. Mathematically, they could clinch as early as this week.