In the 26 games in which he's worn Sedona red, the Oklahoma-born ballplayer has amassed close to a .300 batting average, knocking in four RBIs and blasting out 14 hits (three of them homers) off some of the NL's best pitchers. And that includes former D-Backs superstar Randy Johnson, who Ryal rocked during the seventh inning of last night's 10-8 win over the San Francisco Giants.
The Big Unit had come in outta the Jints' bullpen and had already struck out Gerardo Parra with three straight sliders. When it was Ryal's turn at the dish, Randy tossed a pair of balls before feeding the rookie an 88-mph fastball that flirted with the edge of the strike zone. One perfectly timed and well-placed swat later, Ryal sent the ball deep into the left-field seats.
If legendary Yankees play-by-play man John Sterling had called the game, he undoubtedly woulda uttered his famous phrase, "It is high, it is far, it is goooone!" (Ryal went 3-for-3 overall last night.)
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The moon shot was one of 16 hits collected by the D-Backs as they punished San Francisco, particularly in the six-run third inning. Arizona had battled back during the previous frame to knot the score at three apiece before exploding offensively. Five different players landed hits in the third, including Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, Miguel Montero, and even starting pitcher Doug Davis.
Parra came within inches of adding another run to that total, as an arcing hit caromed off the outfield fence and initially appeared to be a two-run homer, but was later was ruled a double after review.
The Giants mounted three runs late in the game to make a comeback, but Arizona managed to outlast them thanks to Ryal's efforts. It was the worst possible outcome for the G-Men, as they are now five games behind the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card race.
They'll attempt to claw back up the ladder during tonight's rubber match, when D-Backs newbie Kevin Mulvey (0-1, 10.95 ERA) tries to squeak out his first win versus Jonathan Sanchez (6-12, 4.29). First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.dbacks.com.