MILWAUKEE -- Justin Upton plans to have fun watching the Home Run Derby next week as a spectator. It's much more important for the Arizona Diamondbacks that their only All-Star keeps hitting homers in the games that count.
Upton homered after learning he'd been snubbed for the derby and Arizona roughed up the slumping Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 on Tuesday night to guarantee they'll be above .500 at the break.Milwaukee's Prince Fielder left off Upton -- who has 14 homers -- among his choices as derby captain."I would've loved to have been picked to be in it just for the sole fact that it's in my stadium and hopefully a lot of our fans are there. That would've been awesome, but at the same time, I'm going to sit back and enjoy it," Upton said. "I'd rather hit them here than in the derby. There's one good thing about it: I won't have to practice my home run swing."He certainly didn't appear to need much practice anyway after a 425-foot shot to left-center field in the third.Gerardo Parra also homered for the Diamondbacks, who built a six-run lead early off Randy Wolf and improved to 3-2 on this 10-game road trip before hosting the All-Star Game Tuesday.Zach Duke (2-3) tossed seven effective innings to win for the first time in 12 starts in Milwaukee and David Hernandez picked up his fifth save. Duke was well aware of his ugly skid at Miller Park."You had to bring that up, didn't you?" Duke said. "I know I've had some bad games here, but I've had some good games here. It just hasn't worked out that I got the win out of it. But I finally did, so that monkey's off my back."Arizona will go for a sweep Wednesday with Josh Collmenter facing Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo. The clubs came into this series with identical 45-40 records, but Arizona has looked dominant after a big comeback Monday.The Diamondbacks (47-40) had been seven games under .500 at one point. Now, they're in second place in the NL West this year after consecutive last-place finishes in the division."It's nice, but at the same time, you've got to finish your work," Upton said. "We've put ourselves in a good position to make a run and you've just got to finish it."Fielder homered to raise his NL-best RBIs total to 71 and Corey Hart hit his second homer in as many days, but Milwaukee lost consecutive games at home for the first time this season.Milwaukee (45-42) has also dropped seven of eight since taking a three-game lead in the NL Central and has fallen behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates in the last two days. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke held his second team meeting of the season immediately after the game that lasted more than 15 minutes."Things definitely aren't good," Wolf said. "I think everybody here really likes Ron and really respects him. He respects us."This one got out of hand early as the Diamondbacks built a 4-0 lead in the first on Miguel Montero's two-run single, Xavier Nady's RBI groundout and a single by Parra.Upton and Parra homered to make it 7-1 in the third.Upton had said he would gladly accept an offer to hit in the Home Run Derby, but Fielder selected Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday and teammate Rickie Weeks on Tuesday to participate in next week's event.Fielder called it a tough decision and hoped there would be no hard feelings, mentioning that he wished he could've put a Diamondbacks player on the squad without mentioning Upton by name."There's no hard feelings at all," Upton said afterward.The Brewers have a lot more important things to worry about right now with their pitchers' recent struggles and a homer-happy offense suddenly unable to outscore opponents.Ryan Braun missed his third game with a strained left calf and watched Milwaukee blow five-run leads on Sunday at Minnesota and in Monday's opener. There was no chance of that in this one after trailing 7-1 after three.Fielder hit an RBI infield single in the first before his 22nd homer landed deep into the right-field bleachers in the sixth to make it 7-2.Hart hit a solo shot in the eighth and Milwaukee got the tying run into the on-deck circle with two outs in the ninth, but Hernandez entered and forced Hart to ground into a fielder's choice to end it."These guys want to win. I'm not picking out individuals because that's not the problem. The problem is the whole group," Roenicke said. "We need to figure out what we need to be more consistent, for one, and to get back and have that one good month that we had."
Braun took batting practice before the game and is expected to return either Wednesday or Thursday. ... Diamondbacks center fielder Chris Young has reached base safely in 16 straight games. ... The Brewers' streak of 41 home games without losing two straight had been the longest since the New York Yankees went 45 home games without losing two in a row in 1996.
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MILWAUKEE, WI - JULY 5: Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by Matt Williams #9 as he...