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D-backs rookie Young goes for 4-0 vs. Brewers

Sun Jul 21 2:42am ET

Alex Young wasn't the first rookie the Arizona Diamondbacks called up this season to fill a spot in the starting rotation. But he's been the best.

It took injuries to Luke Weaver -- and rookies Taylor Clarke and Jon Duplantier -- for the D-backs to finally dig down to get to Young, but they're glad they did.

The 25-year-old left-hander will make his fourth start Sunday as Arizona closes a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix. Weaver (3-0, 0.96 ERA) has wins in each of his first three starts.

"I think a lot of people are kind of shocked at how well I am doing right now," Young said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "I've been preparing my whole life for this. For me I am not surprised, because of the amount of time and effort I've put to it."

Arizona selected Young in the second round of the 2015 draft, but nothing about his stat line screamed that he was ready to do what he's done. He had a 5.17 ERA last season across Double-A and Triple-A, and his ERA was 6.09 at Triple-A Reno this season before he made his major league debut.

He started the season as a reliever, which is why manager Torey Lovullo has had Young on a pitch count, including taking him out after 71 pitches while working on a six-inning no-hitter against Colorado on July 7. Young tossed 79 pitches on Tuesday, when he allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in a victory at the Texas Rangers.

"That guy is pretty good at teasing you," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "Nobody has really hit him hard, and we did exactly what everyone else has been doing against him. He throws a lot of early strikes or balls that get you off the barrel. We hit a lot of balls off the end of the bat and could never square up anything off him."

Including one relief appearance, Young has allowed only six hits in 18 2/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking three.

While Young's continued success figures to be key to Arizona staying in the National League wild-card chase, a similar case can be made about his Sunday counterpart: Milwaukee's Brandon Woodruff. The hard-throwing righty, mostly a reliever last season in 19 appearances, is 11-3 with a 3.53 ERA. He has struck out 133 in 114 2/3 innings.

Woodruff has allowed just one run in each of his past three starts, spanning 20 1/3 innings. The Brewers are 15-4 when he starts.

Milwaukee has won two of three in the series, including Saturday's 8-3 win behind Mike Moustakas' three-run homer. Three Brewers -- Moustakas, Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura -- are riding 10-game hitting streaks.

The downside to Hiura, a 22-year-old second baseman, is his defense. He has an error in the series, and several throws have been shaky.

"He's just not that experienced in the infield," manager Craig Counsell said on MLB.com. "That's the biggest thing that he's fighting right now, is that he just hasn't played a lot of games in the infield as a professional. From my perspective, he's thousands of ground balls behind a lot of guys."

Hiura is hitting .328 with nine home runs, eight doubles and a triple in 36 games. He is 5-for-13 with four RBIs in the series, so Milwaukee will live with the growing pains on defense.

"Keston's continuing to swing the bat really well, which is a good sign," Counsell said.

--Field Level Media

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