It'd been almost nine long months since Conor Jackson hit a home run for the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the left fielder's last moon shot coming way back in July against the San Francisco Giants.
Co-Jack's homer dry spell ended in dramatic fashion Tuesday night when he drilled a pinch-hit, three-run dinger deep into the seats at Chase Field during the eighth inning to help lift the D-Backs to a 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The swat allowed the Snakes to pull ahead of their opponents 6-4 after trailing for most of the game, thanks to stellar hitting by St. Louis sluggers Albert Pujols and Joe Thurston.
But Jackson wasn't the only one who reversed his fortunes last night, as the beleaguered Eric Byrnes turned boos into cheers as he nailed a two-out, walk-off single in the 10th to drive in Justin Upton and hand his squad a much-needed win.
Both highlights followed a soaring two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning by third baseman Mark Reynolds, pinch-hitting for starting pitcher Max Scherzer.
And while all the scoring alleviated the D-Backs' recent offensive woes (for the moment, at least), Byrnesie & Company continued their troubling tendency of blowing golden opportunities. For instance, their failure to capitalize with runners on first and third and only one away in the bottom of the ninth after Stephen Drew tripled and Chad Tracy was intentionally walked by St. Louis relief pitcher Brad Thompson.
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Equally frustrating was the blown save earlier in the inning by D-Backs closer Chad Qualls, who allowed a pair of RBI singles by Pujols and Colby Rasmus with the bases loaded to knot the score at 6-6. He managed to fan the next two batters to retire the side, but skipper Bob Melvin wisely brought in Tony Peña for the tenth, the seventh pitcher of the night.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa also went deep into his bullpen during the contest, bringing in six pitchers after starter Chad Carpenter was pulled in the fourth with a strained rib cage. While the injury will send jitters through Cardinals Nation (as there's high hopes for Carpenter this season), it was probably a lucky break for the Diamondbacks.
Let's hope their luck will continue as they try to keep the momentum going during the rubber game this afternoon at Chase Field, where the starting pitchers are slated to be Jon Garland (1-0, 3.86 ERA) for Arizona and Joel Piñeiro (1-0, 2.70 ERA) for the Cards. First pitch is at 12:40 p.m. FSN-AZ will broadcast the game on TV, while KTAR-AM 620 handles the radio end.
See www.dbacks.com for more.