PITTSBURGH - With Jason Kubel mired in a 5-for-39 slump heading into Wednesday's game, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson wanted to sit him out for a couple days to clear his head.
Come Thursday, Gibson reconsidered.
"He's got a chance of doing damage," Gibson explained before Thursday's game against the Pirates. "He's due."
He sure was.
Kubel homered in the first and seventh innings, Joe Saunders pitched seven effective innings and the Diamondbacks beat Pittsburgh 6-3 on Thursday.
Both of Kubel's home runs immediately followed hits by Aaron Hill. Wil Nieves also hit a two-run homer in his Diamondbacks debut.
"I said he was due, didn't I?" Gibson said after the game. "I'm glad I had him in there. It was just a great performance from him."
Saunders (6-8) retired 14 consecutive batters in the middle innings. He allowed two earned runs and seven hits with no walks. The Diamondbacks had lost five of their previous six starts.
J.J. Putz pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the season.
Hill had three hits and Chris Johnson had two as Arizona completed a 6-4 road trip.
Gaby Sanchez had three hits for the Pirates.
After hitting an NL-high 11 home runs during July, Kubel was slumping enough recently that Gibson had him out of the lineup Wednesday. But the ejections of Chris Young and Justin Upton forced Kubel into the game late, and he was back in the No. 3 spot in the order Thursday.
Kubel moved into third in the NL with his 24th and 25th home runs. He has nine career multihomer games, including hitting three July 21 against Houston.
• Who: Nationals at D-backs
• When: 6:40 p.m.
• TV; radio: FSAZ; 1490-AM