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Hillenbrand discovers the homer

A move to Arizona has turned Shea Hillenbrand from a line-drive hitter into a slugger.

Hillenbrand became the sixth player to homer in three consecutive innings, going 5-for-5 with a career-high seven RBIs Monday night in the Diamondbacks' 14-6 win over Colorado, the opener of a three-game series.

After peppering balls off the Green Monster in Boston for doubles the past 2{ years, Hillenbrand has homered five times in 63 at-bats since Arizona acquired him May 29.

Hillenbrand came to Arizona determined to generate more power than he showed in Boston, where he homered three times in 49 games.

"I've been playing in Boston and trying to do their program and their plan," he said. "It finally got to the point where I got here with a lot of veteran hitters, a lot of seasoned players who know how to play the game right. They've been a great resource to me."

Hillenbrand's transformation mirrors that of Luis Gonzalez, who averaged more than 35 homers in Arizona after topping out at 23 with Detroit.

Hillenbrand was brought to Arizona to protect Gonzalez in the lineup.

But Hillenbrand showed he's a hitter to be feared as well. Hillenbrand said it's too early for comparisons to Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star who hit 57 homers in 2001 while leading the Diamondbacks to a World Series title.

"I'm not an impact player like that who is very capable and has shown he's a franchise player," Hillenbrand said. "I'm just part of the mix."

Hillenbrand had a chance to make it four homers in four innings when he came up in the seventh, but he hit a two-run double that gave him a franchise-record 15 total bases.

"I was thinking, "Just enjoy it,' because it's probably the only time that will ever happen," Hillenbrand said.

Hillenbrand was traded for pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim to add a right-handed bat to Arizona's predominantly left-handed lineup. First he had to recover from a strained oblique muscle, which sidelined him from June 9-28.

Upon his return, Hillenbrand listened to Mark Grace's advice about opening his stance and worked with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy.

"His timing was a little bit off," manager Bob Brenly said. "He was jumping at the ball a little bit, and he spent a lot of time in the cage with Murph working on his balance in the batter's box, waiting for the ball to get into the hitting zone.

"He's got such a quick swing as it is, and all it took was a couple of sessions in the cage."

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