Juan Gutierrez and Chad Qualls had been two of the most dependable members of the D-backs' bullpen prior to Sunday's game. But the two relievers combined to let in five runs in the ninth inning to blow yet another Dan Haren lead and send the Diamondbacks and the Padres into extra innings.
While the D-backs would squander several golden opportunities to score in extra innings, the D-backs bullpen - which had allowed 16 runs in its previous 14 innings heading into the 10th - held the Padres both scoreless and hitless for nine extra frames. Jon Rauch, Esmerling Vasquez, and Leo Rosales were perfect while Clay Zavada scattered three walks over 2.2 innings of work.
That set things up for the top of the 18th. With two outs and two runners on, Mark Reynolds took an 88-mph Josh Wilson fastball to the opposite field for a three-run homer, his team-leading 14th blast of the season. Wilson, a natural shortstop, had tossed a hitless inning for Arizona earlier in the season and hadn't been scored upon in two major league innings heading into the contest.
That game-winning homer continues an excellent season for Reynolds. Even though he is on pace to shatter his own major league record for most strikeouts in a season, Reynolds leads the Diamondbacks in home runs, RBI, runs, stolen bases, and walks. He has been among the most productive third basemen in baseball and has greatly improved his defense at the hot corner since last year, when he led the majors in errors by a wide margin with 35.
Reynolds was part of a resurgent offensive attack. Stephen Drew collected four hits, the formerly-impotent-on-the-road Chris Young reached base four times, and Joshua Whitesell finally showed a flash of what he accomplished in Triple-A with a bases-loaded double early in the game.
The real hero of the day/evening was Rosales, however. The former Padres farmhand tossed 3.1 perfect innings against his former team, fanning four batters along the way. If the offense can continue to click and the bullpen pitches more like it did in extra-innings and less like it did in regulation, the Diamondbacks will have a strong final two-thirds of the season.
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