PHOENIX - The pitch was low and away. Chris Young, eager to make contact with runners on the corners, struck out swinging in the first inning.
He then got a hitting tip from an unlikely source - a teammate who has been struggling at the plate.
The advice from Justin Upton - don't lunge at the pitch or rush the swing - paid off: Young crushed a two-run home run to left-center field with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Diamondbacks a 7-5 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday in front of 23,922 at Chase Field.
"Honestly, I was talking to Justin in the first inning, and I felt terrible … he went into the video room, looked up something for me, and I tried to make an adjustment as the game went on.
"I felt all right, and it was good to be able to come through tonight," said Young, who also hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and doubled in the sixth.
The D-backs were able to breathe a big sigh of relief after the dramatic finish that gave them a 6-4 mark on the homestand, but the questions surrounding closer Chad Qualls only intensified.
Called upon in the ninth to protect a 5-2 lead established by starter Edwin Jackson, Qualls was ineffective. He allowed a leadoff double, then bobbled a soft toss at first base from Adam LaRoche to trigger the St. Louis rally. Esmerling Vasquez entered the game and threw a wild pitch, and the game was tied.
This time, however, the D-backs found a way to win a strange game.
With two outs in the ninth, catcher Miguel Montero, making his first start after knee surgery earlier this season, singled to give Young the chance to win the game against reliever Kyle McClellan.
"You talk about a range of emotions, what a game," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "So many opportunities on both sides, top-step moments for both teams to have an opportunity to break things open a little bit, a lot of base runners left on base, their momentum swings …
"For us to answer with a two-out RBI again - we scored a lot runs with two outs - that's another good sign," Hinch added.
Young is beginning to craft a season in which he is on pace to crack the 100-RBI barrier for the first time. He is putting together quality at-bats, getting pitches to hit and taking advantage of opportunities.
He has hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games, batting .300 over that stretch. The walk-off home run was the third of his career.
"It hasn't happened overnight," Hinch said. "He's worked real hard to get himself grounded again, keep his feet in the batter's box, not skate all over, get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it, and he's getting the results."
Hinch said the Cardinals were hitting Qualls hard. That, coupled with the extra pressure Qualls is putting on himself, led to the decision to pull the beleaguered reliever.
Qualls' ERA jumped to 8.46 after allowing the three runs - two of them earned - and three hits in one-third of an inning.
"I'd seen enough," Hinch said. "Obviously, it's difficult to do that. I felt for us to have the best chance to win it was gonna have to be with someone else."
It was an odd win for Vasquez (1-2), who also was charged with a blown save.
• Who: D-backs at Red Sox
• When: 4:10 p.m. Tuesday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1490-AM