CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Cincinnati Reds needed a big hit. Javier
Valentin was ready for his opportunity to help.
Valentin hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the bottom of the
ninth inning to lift the Reds over the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4
Austin Kearns hit a pinch-hit single off Arizona closer Jose
Valverde with one out in the ninth. Valentin followed with his
first career pinch-hit drive.
"Every time we've faced him, he's hit the first pitch, and he's
looking to pull it," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "It was a
[split-finger fastball] that Valentin hit. I don't second guess the
pitch. I'm sure [Valverde] doesn't feel great about the outcome."
Valentin's first homer of the season snapped Arizona's winning
streak at five games and the Reds' losing streak at three.
"In a situation like that, you look for their best pitch,"
said Valentin, whose pinch-hit single gave Cincinnati a 3-2 win
over St. Louis on May 2. "I've faced [Valverde] before, and the
split is what he threw. I was just looking for something hard and
middle in that I could get a good swing on."
David Weathers (2-2) allowed two hits in two scoreless innings
to get the win as the Reds avoided a sweep of the three-game
series. Valverde (2-2), who refused comment after the game, blew
his second save in 16 opportunities.
The Diamondbacks wasted a strong major league debut by Enrique
Gonzalez, who allowed three hits and one run in six innings. The
right-hander struck out four and walked one.
Ryan Freel led off the first inning with a home run off
Gonzalez, who was called up from Triple-A Tucson on Friday. Freel's
first homer of the season snapped the Reds' streak of consecutive
scoreless innings at 21.
"I was nervous," said Gonzalez, who didn't allow a runner past
first base after giving up Freel's homer. "I'd never pitched in
front of that many people before. I was excited. I just wanted to
keep the ball down in the zone and put the ball in play."
Playing for the first time since Monday and starting in right
field for the first time all season, Freel also threw Shawn Green
out at the plate to end Arizona's eighth inning. Green was trying
to score on Johnny Estrada's single.
"Winning like that should be a tremendous lift, because
everybody contributed," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.
Jorge Julio pitched a scoreless seventh for the Diamondbacks but
Scott Hatteberg hit a two-run homer off Brandon Lyon in the eighth
to get Cincinnati within one. Hatteberg's third homer of the season
bounced off the top of the right-field fence.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, who gave up a career-high 11 hits
in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Arizona on May 6, continued to have
problems with the Diamondbacks. He allowed seven hits and four runs
with three walks and six strikeouts.
Narron was ejected by plate umpire Larry Vanover in the
bottom of the seventh for arguing balls and strikes. The ejection
was Narron's second of the season. ... Freel's leadoff homer was
the second of his career. ... Reds C David Ross bunted for a hit to
lead off the eighth and extend his hitting streak to a career-high
six games. ... SS Felipe Lopez was caught stealing in the third.
Lopez already has a career-high 16 stolen bases, none in three
tries since May 11.