Mark Reynolds got a nice birthday gift Tuesday night: a win, plus a game-changing three-run home run.
But he'll probably need an ice pack after a scary incident in the sixth inning when he was hit by a pitch in the face.
The Snakes came away with a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals, thanks to Reynolds and starting pitcher Joe Saunders, who pitched a complete game.
As has been the case many times this season, a D-Backs' starter struggled, giving up the long ball early. This time it was Ryan Zimmerman who took Saunders deep to straight-away center in the first.
The hapless Snakes blew a golden chance to tie the game in the next inning after Adam LaRoche led off the inning with a triple. But he was gunned down at home trying to score on a fly ball to left.
The Nationals, in the same spot the next inning (runner on third and no outs), promptly failed, as well.
It's obvious why both of these teams won't be sniffing the playoffs this season.
Arizona tied the game in the third on a Stephen Drew home run to right field.
The Snakes then got some magic going in the fourth -- all with two outs. LaRoche singled and Miguel Montero walked to bring up Reynolds (celebrating his 27th birthday), who blasted a home run to right-center for a 4-1 lead. He also hit a home run on his birthday last season.
"I wish it was my birthday every day," he joked after the game.
The Snakes tacked on another run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Montero. But the scary moment came when Reynolds was hit by a pitch in the helmet. He lay on the ground for a few minutes before walking off the field.
"I guess the pitch just got away," Reynolds said. "I don't have a headache, just a black eye."
Saunders again showed why he was traded for Dan Haren, throwing nine brilliant innings while only giving up a single run. He only gave up five hits and struck out five.
"It was a good home debut, for sure," he said. "I'm here to prove my worth to the organization."
D-Backs interim manager Kirk Gibson said he was confident leaving Saunders in the game.
"He wanted a complete game," Gibson said. "He pitched a real nice game...we're happy to have him."
The Snakes continue their four-game series with the Nationals tonight at Chase Field. Ian Kennedy (6-8, 4.26 ERA) pitches against Craig Stammen (3-4, 5.24 ERA).
First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: dbacks.com.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.