PHOENIX -- Once hampered by fielding miscues earlier this season, the D-backs have turned around their defense to the tone of franchise records for consecutive innings and games without committing an error.Entering Saturday night's matchup with the Athletics, the D-backs had not made an error in 11 straight games and 102 innings. An official scorer gave Justin Upton an error on June 1 in San Diego, but Major League Baseball later reversed the ruling, keeping the streak alive. "You don't want your pitchers to pitch away from contact, so it's very important for any team to take care of the ball," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Certainly the routine plays, but even more so when you need a play, when you're in trouble with the bases loaded, someone turns a double play, that's big." With the help of the flawless run of defense, the D-backs are tied with the Reds for the fewest errors in the National League with 30. "I think your fielding goes in streaks," Gibson said. "There are so many variables that go into it. You want to pick up the ball, of course, and some of the plays get overlooked."
Drew, Saito, Blum continue to make strides
PHOENIX -- Three injured D-backs players performed well and held up during their last rehab games as they make their ways back to the Major League team.Reliever Takashi Saito threw a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout on Friday night in Tucson while pitching for Triple-A Reno. He is currently rehabbing a nagging calf injury sustained in Spring Training and isn't expected back with the D-backs in the near future. "He threw the ball well, starting to throw the ball better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He'll travel with [Reno] and start segueing into a normal role, like somebody in the bullpen." Also with the Aces, shortstop Stephen Drew, battling back from breaking his ankle last season, went 1-for-4 on Thursday and is expected to start and play nine innings Saturday. "He made some nice plays," Gibson said. "I heard about it. He looks good, doesn't he? He's getting close, but I don't have a date. He wants to play back-to-back days." Infielder Geoff Blum, who strained his left oblique during batting practice on April 18 and is currently on the 60-day disabled list, collected two hits on Saturday, including a home run in an extended spring training game at Salt River Fields. The veteran still isn't playing defense. "He's getting ready to hit full-go both sides," Gibson said. "He's got to play for a while, he'll become an everyday player and get him up to speed."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.