D-backs end tough trip on high note
Allen's first career home run helps Arizona roll to win
SAN FRANCISCO -- After 11 days, four cities and nearly 5,900 miles, the D-backs' marathon road trip finally came to an end Thursday night at AT&T Park.
"It's been a miserable road trip," third baseman Mark Reynolds said. "We've had absolutely zero positives throughout this whole road trip."
Sure, there is not much the D-backs are going to want to remember about the 2-8 trip during which they were swept by the world champions, lost some games in heart-breaking fashion and went without their best offensive player for a few days due to illness.
Thursday's 11-0 win over the Giants, however, made the late-night flight to Phoenix feel a little better.
"The ending is important for us, because we really took it on the chin a lot this road trip," Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. "Today is certainly a morale lifter."
The D-backs played a complete game, with Yusmeiro Petit scattering four hits over six innings and the offense pounding out 14 hits.
It was the second consecutive strong outing for Petit since he made a slight mechanical adjustment in which he turns more toward second base during his windup to add a bit of deception to the delivery.
In two starts since making the adjustment, Petit has allowed one run in 12 innings.
"It's helped him keep the ball down and given him a little deception," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said. "I definitely see different swings from guys at the plate against him. I told him, 'Whatever it is, hold onto it -- it's working.' Sometimes you mention things or suggest things to guys and they don't always take to it. But he was open-minded. He tried it, and it worked."
Before he even took the mound, Petit had a 3-0 lead thanks to the offense's work against Giants starter Joe Martinez (3-3).
After tacking on a run in the second, the D-backs added another four runs in the fifth. It was an inning that included a trio of highlights.
First there was Reynolds -- he of the pneumonia and nasty flu that sidelined him for three games and kept him away from the ballpark on Tuesday. The slugger hit his 39th home run of the season, a long blast into the bleachers to the left of the batter's eye in center field that left him one homer behind St. Louis' Albert Pujols' Major League-leading total.
"I didn't know how I was going to react out there," said Reynolds, who hadn't played since Saturday. "I figured my timing would be off and I would feel uncomfortable at the plate. But it was the opposite. I was up there relaxed. I didn't expect too much from myself tonight, and I was able to barrel two balls."
After a couple of men reach base, Brandon Allen hit a 1-2 offering into the right-field bleachers just to the right of the 421-foot sign.
The blast capped the inning and also marked the first career home run for the first baseman the club acquired from the White Sox last month.
"It felt good," Allen said. "[It] put some more runs on the board and gave a bigger lead to Yusmeiro. He pitched a great game tonight."
Balls typically don't carry well at AT&T Park, so Allen by no means was positive his drive was going to reach the seats when it left his bat.
"I was booking it," Allen said of his sprint out of the batter's box. "I was ready for it to carom off the wall a little bit. But it got up, so it all worked out."
"Allen's home run really gave us some separation," Hinch said.
Finally, Petit got into the action when he beat out a little tapper down the third-base line for his first hit since 2007.
"The ball wasn't carrying as much, so I tried to hit the ball on the ground," Petit said jokingly through interpreter Miguel Montero. "I saw that he had a chance on the slow grounder, and I just hustled to first to try and get my base hit."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.