A Dominant Big Unit ran out of gas in the 7th inning of Wednesday's start. The Phillies then…
Byrnes the Go-To Guy for the Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes has been a valuable commodity for manager Bob Melvin, who has relied upon Byrnes to play all three outfield spots this season as well as move up and down in the batting order to fill holes when certain players aren't producing in various roles.
"Wherever we have a problem in the order, if I need to get a spot going or whatever it is, Eric Byrnes ends up in that spot," Melvin said. Byrnes has always been capable of doing that, but he's become a more complete hitter this season, according to Melvin, who notes the player's improved on-base percentage, number of walks, and amount of times he's hit the ball to the opposite field.
"He realized, too, he can get better," Melvin said. "He's been working hard with 'Seitz' (hitting coach Kevin Seitzer) since Day One of spring training about hitting the ball the other way and doing some situational things that in the past probably hasn't been his strong suit.
"But it's a comfort to me to know if we have a problem, be it in the No. 4 hole and we have a guy out of the lineup and I'm looking for a guy in that spot, he's the guy I plug in there. Defensively and offensively, he brings the same intensity, that play-with-your-hair-on-fire type of thing every game, and yet he can acclimate to different roles, different positions.
"He's been a very, very good player for us."
Byrnes went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over visiting Philadelphia. In his first at-bat, he smacked a 473-foot homer into the upper deck in left field off Adam Eaton. It tied Philadelphia's Scott Rolen for the second-longest homer ever hit in the 10-year history of Chase Field. The longest was a 503-foot smash off the JumboTron in center by Arizona's Richie Sexson on April 26, 2004, against the Cubs.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, PHILLIES 2: Tony Clark hit the eighth pinch home run of his career Tuesday, sending a solo shot 457 feet to right field for the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as Arizona won its third straight game.
Eric Byrnes also hit a mammoth homer, sending an Adam Eaton fastball 473 feet into the upper deck in left field, tying the second-longest homer ever hit at Chase Field.
"It's a pretty cool thing when you think about all the players who have played here," Byrnes said. "That was pretty unbelievable, definitely something to brag about around the campfire."
Rookie right-hander Micah Owings allowed two earned runs in seven innings for his second career victory.
--INF Chad Tracy made his first start in seven games Thursday, but it wasn't at third base. Tracy started at first. Manager Bob Melvin wanted Tracy's bat in the lineup against the Phillies after the infielder, who had been sidelined due to a ribcage strain, put up a good at-bat as a pinch hitter the previous night. Playing first base would help prevent him aggravating the injury, Melvin said, by Tracy not having to make long, hard throws from third.
"He wouldn't be out there if we didn't think he could handle it," Melvin said.
Tracy likely will get the day off Wednesday against LHP Jamie Moyer. Following Thursday's off day, he probably will start at third base Friday in Houston when the Diamondbacks begin a nine-game trip.
--OF Jeff DaVanon, who hasn't played since last season following left ankle and right shoulder surgeries, is scheduled to report to extended spring training in Tucson on Thursday. He will be used strictly as a designated hitter for the first few days before playing in the outfield. After a few games there, he will join Class AAA Tucson for a rehab stint.
--RHP Juan Cruz, who has been bothered by a sore shoulder, began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tucson on Tuesday.
--2B Orlando Hudson is the only Arizona player to start all 34 games this season, and it could be awhile before he's given a day off by manager Bob Melvin.
"I haven't been able to," Melvin said, "and I don't want to right now. He doesn't look like he's tired. It's more his performance that has kept him in there every day."
--Manager Bob Melvin on Phillies LHP Jamie Moyer, 44, whom he managed in Seattle and who starts against Arizona on Wednesday: "He's constantly coming up with new tricks, and that's why he's able to stay successful. Back in '92, '93, '94, it looked liked like it might be his last years, but he's studied the game well enough, he knows himself well enough, and he's always trying to better himself. The last few years, the cutter has been the pitch for him. ... It wouldn't surprise me if he pitches for a couple more years."
BY THE NUMBERS: 13 -- Consecutive games lost by the Diamondbacks at home to the Mets -- a streak dating back to May 2004 -- until Arizona finally broke through with a 3-1 victory on May 6 at Chase Field. The major league record for a consecutive win streak by one team at one particular visiting city is 19, set by the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947-48 at the Cincinnati Reds.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's been our best player, no question. At this point in time, he is one of the premier players in the National League. ... He's certainly found a home there. He's accountable in that spot. He knows that the No. 3 guy is the guy you really look to, and generally, your best hitter." -- Manager Bob Melvin on 2B Orlando Hudson, who was leading the club with a .341 batting average after having reached base safely via a walk or a hit in each of the team's first 33 games.
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