Reynolds plays series hero for D-Backs
A day after hitting two home runs and stealing five bases in a doubleheader, Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds took center stage for an encore.
In the finale of a four-game series in Florida on Thursday, Reynolds launched a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Diamondbacks to a 4-3 victory over the host Marlins.
“I go through phases like this,” said Reynolds, who went 7 for 16 in the series with four homers, seven RBIs and six stolen bases. “I get locked in, and I feel like no one can get me out. I just gotta find a way to remember this feeling.”
In Wednesday’s doubleheader split, Reynolds went 2 for 3 with four stolen bases in the opener (which the Diamondbacks lost 8-6) and he hit a two-run homer and a solo shot in the second game (which the D-backs won 11-9 in 13 innings). For his follow-up performance on Thursday, Reynolds drove in the Diamondbacks’ first run with a sixth-inning single. Two innings later, he reversed a 3-2 deficit for Arizona by belting a two-run homer over the fence in left-center field.
Reynolds, who raised his batting average from .244 to .266 during the four-game series at Land Shark Stadium in Miami, now has 12 home runs, 23 RBIs and 10 steals on the season.
Reynolds’ go-ahead homer on Thursday made a winner out of Arizona rookie reliever Clay Zavada, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning in his major-league debut. The 24-year-old left-hander, who sports a handlebar mustache reminiscent of that of Hall of Fame closer Rollie Fingers, retired all three batters he faced, striking out two.
“You look at him, the mustache and everything -- he’s a lefty,” Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder said about Zavada, who was promoted to the big leagues on Thursday from Class AA Mobile. “He came in and did his job. He threw strikes. He did what he needed to do, and we picked him up and he got his first win.”
Snyder welcomed Zavada to the majors with a congratulatory post-game pie in the face as Zavada was being interviewed by the Fox Sports Arizona television network.
“That was a good one,” Snyder said about the shaving-cream pastry which covered Zavada’s entire face.
Snyder also made a key contribution to the victory, hitting his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot in the top of the seventh that drew the Diamondbacks to within 3-2.
Snyder’s home run (his second in two days) set the stage for Reynolds’ game-winner in the eighth.
After Reynolds gave the Diamondbacks the lead, Tony Pena and Chad Qualls preserved it. Pena surrendered a leadoff double to Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the eighth but was able to escape the jam unscathed. Qualls struck out the side in order in the ninth to register his 10 th save.
Max Scherzer pitched the first six innings for Arizona, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out a season-high 10 and walked two.
Florida starter Andrew Miller allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking two.
The Diamondbacks (17-24) won three of the four games in the series against the Marlins (19-23). The D-backs stand at 4-2 on their road trip which began in Atlanta and which will conclude with a three-game set in Oakland this weekend.
Following a four-game losing streak last week in which the Diamondbacks scored a total of 12 runs, they have tallied 38 runs in their last five games, four of which have been victories.
“We’re playing with more confidence,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “We got a little bounce in our step. We got our swagger back a little bit.”
By: Tom Kessler
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