Reynolds smacks 39th homer as D-Backs trounce Giants
August 28, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – Sidelined for four days with the flu, Mark Reynolds didn’t expect much when he decided he was well enough to play Thursday.
He was wrong.
Reynolds hit his 39th home run of the season as part of a four-run fifth inning for the Diamondbacks, and Arizona ended a disappointing road trip with an 11-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.
“When I woke up this morning I stood up in bed and I wasn’t dizzy, so I was like ‘All right, I’m playing,”‘ said Reynolds, who also had an RBI single. “I figured my timing would be off and I would feel uncomfortable at the plate, but it was the opposite.”
The Giants’ seventh shutout loss of the season cost them a chance to gain ground in the National League wild-card race. Colorado, which holds a three-game lead over San Francisco, lost to the Dodgers and comes to AT&T for a pivotal three-game series beginning Friday.
Reynolds missed Arizona’s three previous games with the flu and received an IV treatment in San Francisco on Tuesday. The veteran slugger didn’t play in the first two games of the series against the Giants but returned Thursday to lead the Diamondbacks to their third-highest run total since the All-Star break.
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He had an RBI single during Arizona’s three-run first inning then hit a towering home run to center off San Francisco starter Joe Martinez (3-2) with one out in the fifth. The home run was Reynolds’ 39th of the season, one behind St. Louis’ Albert Pujols who leads the majors with 40.
Reynolds also made a nice play on Juan Uribe’s high popup in the second, falling to his knees just before making the catch.
“Maybe I should play like this all the time, kind of relaxed,” Reynolds said. “I still have pneumonia but I felt good enough to play. I can stand up without throwing up so that’s a good sign.”
Yusmeiro Petit snapped a personal three-game skid and Brandon Allen added his first career home run for Arizona, which went just 2-8 on its 10-game trip.
Petit (3-8) scattered four hits over six innings and had five strikeouts with two walks to win for the first time since Aug. 4 while the Diamondbacks backed him with their highest run total in three weeks.
“The ending is important for us because we really took it on the chin a lot this road trip,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “To win today in convincing fashion after two really gut-wrenching losses and the way we lost is rewarding. Today is certainly a morale lifter.”
San Francisco took the first two games of the series behind a three-run home run from Travis Ishikawa on Tuesday and a pinch-hit three-run homer by Bengie Molina on Wednesday. But the Giants couldn’t complete the series sweep because they couldn’t muster much offense.
Petit, who had lost his previous three starts, retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until Edgar Renteria’s single to center leading off the fourth. The Giants loaded the bases later in the inning with two outs but Petit escaped the jam by getting Aaron Rowand to strike out looking on three pitches.
Esmerling Vasquez, Clay Zavada and Blaine Boyer completed the five-hitter for Arizona’s 11th shutout of the season.
San Francisco, which played without leading hitter Pablo Sandoval (tight calf), Molina (quad) and second baseman Freddy Sanchez (shoulder), didn’t put up much of a fight.
“We’re banged up,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s the heart of your order so that makes it a little more difficult but you try to see some young guys up there getting a chance and hopefully they step up. But it makes it a little more difficult when you’re missing your 2-3-4 hitters.”
NOTES: Arizona C Chris Snyder did not take batting practice because of lower back pains and will undergo an MRI test in Phoenix, according to Hinch. Snyder was available in an emergency against the Giants and Hinch said a decision likely will be made Saturday whether to put Snyder on the DL or not. … San Francisco pitchers recorded 11 strikeouts, giving them 1,008 for the season. It’s the seventh time in the last 10 years and the 13th time overall in the franchise’s San Francisco history the pitching staff has reached that plateau.
Athletics 2, Angels 0
ANAHEIM – Trevor Cahill overcame back stiffness to throw a gem against one of baseball’s best offenses.
Cahill and two relievers combined on a three-hitter and Ryan Sweeney came within a double of hitting for the cycle, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
“It was kind of a strange start, where he threw so many balls in a row that you thought there was something wrong with him,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said. “He finished the first inning with six strikes and 12 balls. He got out of it without any scoring, which is not a good recipe to follow. But after that, he was sensational.”
Cahill (7-12) walked his first two batters before picking off Chone Figgins at second base.
“Early on, Cahill was having trouble finding the zone, but I think we let him off the hook in the first inning,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “As the game went on, he got much better at first-pitch strikes. He’s got a good slider with good action, and we didn’t square too many balls up on him.”
Sweeney, who came in 4 for 9 lifetime against Angels starter Ervin Santana, homered, singled and tripled in his three at-bats against the right-hander to help the A’s recover from a three-game sweep at Seattle.
Cahill held the AL West leaders to a two-out single by Vladimir Guerrero in the fourth inning and a leadoff double by Jeff Mathis in the sixth. The Angels came in leading the majors with a .290 team batting average.
“The young guy has good stuff,” Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. “He had the slider, the changeup and his two-seamer moving both ways. Half the time when we swung the bat, we hit it on the ground. We couldn’t get anything going offensively. Santana pitched a pretty good game for us, but we couldn’t score any runs.”
Cahill, who already has set an Oakland rookie record by allowing 25 home runs, hasn’t given one up in 27 innings over his last four starts.
“When he was giving up the homers, he was getting balls up over the middle of the plate,” Geren said. “Now he’s just been more consistent down in the zone and he’s pounding the lefties in better than he had earlier in the year. So they can’t lean out over the plate and take the outer half away from him because he’s pitching better inside.”
Cahill was 0-10 in 18 previous starts this season in which he received three runs of support or less while he was in the game. But the 21-year-old right-hander was able to overcome it this time, allowing only one baserunner past second in seven innings.
“I was just able to keep my sinker down and keep them off-balance with my changeup,” said Cahill, who came out after his back tightened up. “Keeping the ball down is the biggest key for me.”
Michael Wuertz pitched a perfect eighth, and Andrew Bailey gave up a two-out bunt single by Hunter in the ninth before retiring Guerrero on a groundout for his 19th save.
Santana (7-7) allowed two runs and eight hits over six innings and struck out six, after winning each of his previous four starts. Sweeney hit his sixth homer with one out in the second and Daric Barton had a one-out RBI single in sixth against the right-hander, who came in 10-1 lifetime against Oakland.
“Ervin was terrific,” Scioscia said. “His last three starts, everything’s been consistent – his velocity and the break on his slider. He pitched a strong ballgame, the kind of game that a lot of times we’re going to win. But we just couldn’t do anything offensively tonight.”
The opener of this four-game series had been rescheduled from April 9, when Angels rookie Nick Adenhart was killed along with two friends in an early morning car crash caused by a drunken driver just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Athletics. Last Monday would have been Adenhart’s 23rd birthday.
NOTES: The Angels lead the majors with 32 bunt hits. … The Angels inducted LHP Chuck Finley and C-OF Brian Downing into their Hall of Fame, increasing the total membership to eight. … The Angels’ uniformed personnel and front office staff assembled in center field before batting practice for the 2009 team photo, but RHP Jered Weaver missed because he was home with the flu. So PR guy Eric Kay stood in wearing Weaver’s No. 36 jersey, and the pitcher’s head will be superimposed when it is printed.