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HOU@ARI: Kubel blasts his third home run of the night

PHOENIX -- It was no coincidence that when Jason Kubel injured his hamstring last week, the D-backs scored just five runs in nearly four games without his services.

The absence of the 30-year-old outfielder's power and run production left the club punchless.

But in the four games since he has returned to the lineup, he has continued his career season without a hiccup, saving his most memorable feat of the season thus far for Saturday night.

Kubel smashed home runs in the first, fourth and sixth innings and totaled six RBIs, and the D-backs scored in double digits for the second consecutive game in defeating the Astros, 12-3, at Chase Field.

"I put some good swings on some balls up," Kubel said. "The balls I was missing yesterday, I wasn't missing tonight. It was a fun win for us."

The three-homer game was the ninth in franchise history and the first of Kubel's career.

"You don't see too many of those games," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's feeling pretty good, and he's had a great year. He's got a very short stroke, so he gets the barrel to the ball quick."

Since missing time with the hamstring injury, Kubel has blasted five home runs and collected 10 RBIs. His 70 RBIs on the season lead the National League.

"It means a lot, it means guys are getting on base for me," Kubel said. "Sometimes all you need is a grounder to score a run. Those count, too."

Last season, in 99 games played, Kubel amassed 64 RBIs and hit 12 long balls. With the three homers on Saturday night, he now has 20 in 84 games in 2012.

"I'm hoping to do more. There's a good amount of baseball left," he said. "As long as guys keep getting on for me, I'll try to keep it going."

Even more impressive, each of the three blasts went to a different part of the park -- one to left field, one to right and one to left-center.

"I'm happy with driving the ball all over the field, it's what I try to do," Kubel said. "It's something I work on every day, and it's paying off."

His first homer came in the first inning, when he smacked a pitch from Astros starter Dallas Keuchel into the first row of the left-field bleachers.

Three innings later, after the D-backs added a couple of runs, he drove the first pitch he saw in his third at-bat out of the park to right field, plating three runs and leaving his club comfortably ahead, 7-1.

He capped his career evening in the sixth inning with a solo shot. After he returned to the dugout, the Chase Field crowd lured him back to the field for a curtain call.

"I'm very grateful for the support," he said. "I was having a lot of fun out there, and the crowd made it better."

Kubel made one more plate appearance, in the eighth against Rhiner Cruz, but he struck out swinging to end his bid for a fourth long ball.

Kubel admitted that with the D-backs holding an eight-run lead, he was swinging for the fences during that at-bat.

"I definitely was," he said. "I was trying to hit it as hard as he was throwing it, but I couldn't catch up."

Willie Bloomquist had a big night in Kubel's shadow, totaling three hits and driving in three runs, and Aaron Hill extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.

Left-hander Wade Miley was the beneficiary of Kubel's memorable performance, dominating the Astros over seven innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out a career-high nine batters to earn his 11th win of the season.

"It's unbelievable to get run support like that," Miley said. "It's fun to be a part of it."

The All-Star had struggled in his previous three outings, surrendering 15 earned runs over a combined 16 innings.

Once Miley exited, Takashi Saito made his team debut, hours after being activated from the disabled list. The veteran reliever allowed an unearned run in an inning of work.

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