Melvin Pushes The Right Buttons

Melvin Pushes The Right Buttons

Bob Melvin made all the right moves Tuesday night by starting Tony Clark and pinch hitting with Conor Jackson, but the Diamondbacks still lost to the Pirates 6-5.


If your name isn't in the starting lineup, don't take it personally.

That is Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin's word of advice for certain position players as he continues to tweak his lineup during the final week of the regular season in Arizona's attempt to clinch the National League West title.

On Tuesday, he sat Conor Jackson for a second consecutive game and had Tony Clark starting at first base in Pittsburgh. He also sat rookie Justin Upton and went with Jeff Salazar in right field.

"Each and every day means that much more," Melvin said, "and if there's a little bit of, we think, a small percentage leaning the other way, then I might be apt to do it."

Clark went 2-for-4 in Arizona's 6-5 loss to the Pirates, and Jackson came off the bench to hit a game-tying, pinch single in the eighth. Clark is hitting .348 in September, Jackson .306.

Jackson said he's okay with the decision, and he appreciates the way Melvin talks to players in advance before announcing lineup decisions.

"He's a players' manager," Jackson said of Melvin. "He's letting you know what the situation is. I'd rather be in the loop than out. Me and 'T' are both swinging the bats hot right now."

PIRATES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5: The Diamondbacks rallied from a 5-1 deficit, but the Pirates rallied late themselves to beat Arizona on Tuesday night at PNC Park.

The Diamondbacks' magic number for a playoff spot remains four.

The Pirates scored twice in the first inning against starter Doug Davis, then added three off Tony Pena in the seventh. Arizona rallied with four hits and four runs in eighth to tie the score at 5, getting RBI hits from Chris Snyder, Conor Jackson and Stephen Drew.

Josh Phelps won it for the Pirates with an RBI single in the eighth off Brandon Lyon.


--LHP Doug Davis failed to win for the fourth start in a row. He has posted a 7.27 ERA since his last victory, Sept. 4 against San Diego.

--RHP Livan Hernandez gets the start Wednesday in Pittsburgh. He is 3-3 with a 5.10 ERA against the Pirates. Hernandez has 19 "quality starts" out of his 32 starts this season.

--Manager Bob Melvin said the Diamondbacks would be grateful to reach the playoffs. "However you get in is great, but I think the goal is to win the division," he said. "That's a goal I think for every team. Coming out of spring training, win your division."

--RHP Micah Owings, who is hitting .291 with four home runs in 55 at-bats, on being a top contender for a Silver Slugger award: "If something like that happens one day, sure, I'll be grateful and consider it an honor. But right now I'm just trying to focus on what I can do to help my team out."

--Alberto Callaspo's sore hamstring hasn't recovered as quickly as the team had hoped, so manager Bob Melvin has continued to rely on Augie Ojeda as his regular starting second baseman in light of the season-ending thumb surgery to 2B Orlando Hudson.

"Augie's like an electric blanket," Melvin said. "You feel very secure about having him out there. You know he's going to give you a competitive at-bat, he understands how to hit down in the lineup... Defensively, he's extremely solid and he's just a nice compliment to the team."

--3B Mark Reynolds hit .522 with three home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs scored during the Diamondbacks' recently-completed six-game homestand against the Giants and Dodgers.

"When you talk about guys locked in, he's at a pretty good place right now," manager Bob Melvin said.

--Reynolds on picking up his batting average during the final six weeks after struggling mightily, especially with excessive strikeouts: "It (stinks) that it took this far into the season to adjust. But at least it's happening as it gets closer to the playoffs."

--Class AA Mobile hitting coach Dave Hansen was promoted by the Diamondbacks to be their minor league hitting coordinator.

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