Add catcher John Hester to the list of the Diamondbacks' youngsters who have made a strong early impression.
Hester, recalled from Triple-A Reno to fill the roster spot created when right-handed reliever Jon Rauch was traded Friday to Minnesota for a player to be named, hit a pinch-hit home run in his first major league at-bat. It was a two-run shot to dead center in the sixth inning that traveled an estimated 420 feet and accounted for the D-backs' final scoring in their 14-7 victory over Houston.
Hester, hitting for winning RHP Max Scherzer (8-8) with two outs,
blasted a 2-2 pitch over the fence in center, becoming the 101st player in major league history to homer in his first at-bat.
"That's a start that I can only wish for, and it came true," Hester said. "After that, I don't know what I'm going to do to follow up. I had the adrenalin flowing. A little nervous, excited, kind of the culmination of everything I've worked after, and it just kind of all came together at the right time."
Hester, 25, was hitting .328 with 31 doubles, nine homers and 66 RBI in 92 games at Reno, his first stop at Class AAA in his third year in the system. He was drafted out of Stanford in the 13th round in 2006. It was his second homer of the week after a three-run blast to beat Colorado Springs on Monday. Earlier this season, he had a 26-game hitting streak at Reno.
Hester's mother attended the game, and his teammates pushed him back up the dugout steps when an appreciative crowd demanded a curtain call.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, this is really happening,' so I got up and gave them a curtain call," Hester said.
D-backs' rookie OF Gerardo Parra was the 100th player to homer in his first major league plate appearance when he did it May 13.
DIAMONDBACKS 14, ASTROS 7: The D-backs scored their most runs in a game this season, following an 11-0 blanking of San Francisco with another smashing offensive display. Rookie C John Hester, OF Alex Romero, and C Miguel Montero
each homered, and Romero's homer capped a seven-run third inning for a 10-4 lead. Every D-backs' starter
- including RHP Max Scherzer, who went six innings - had a hit as Arizona rebounded from its 2-8 road trip.
--World Series hero Luis Gonzalez officially announced his retirement as a player and join the D-backs' front office Saturday. The D-backs already had planned an appreciation night for Gonzalez on Saturday, and there was a general feeling that a formal announcement could be made. Gonzalez, who hit 57 home runs in 2001 and drove in the winning run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with a single, is to be a special assistant to team president and CEO Derrick Hall.
--C John Hester and OF Gerardo Parra are not the only rookies to excel in their first major league games for the D-backs this season. Rookie OF Trent Oeltjen singled in his first major league plate appearance and homered in the same game -- his fourth at-bat -- in an 11-6 victory over Pittsburgh on August 6. INF Rusty Ryal singled in his first major league at-bat as a pinch-hitter in a 7-4 victory over the Mets on August 10.
--C John Hester's recall is an indication that C Chris Snyder (gluteus
tightness) is likely to go on the disabled list. Snyder has missed the last three games
August 26-28 and underwent an MRI on Friday. He missed five weeks earlier in the season with a lower back strain, and he believes his current condition is related. He was scheduled to start
on Wednesday, but was a late scratch.
--1B Brandon Allen added to his collection of firsts while capping off his first week in the major leagues with a three-hit game, getting two singles and a double and scoring three times Friday. He also walked once. Allen is 5-for-9 with four RBI in his past two games after hitting his first major league homer and first major league double in an 11-0 victory over San Francisco on Thursday.
--3B Mark Reynolds wasted little time getting back to business Thursday, singling in a run in a three-run first inning and hitting a long home run to centerfield in the fifth in his first game after missing three with
a severe case of the flu that caused him to miss three games and lose 10
pounds. "Maybe I should play like this all the time, kind of relaxed," Reynolds said. "I still have pneumonia, but I felt good enough to play. I can stand up without throwing up, so that's a good sign." Reynolds, whose 39 homers are second in the major leagues, is on pace for 47 homers. Reynolds is 3-for-8 with a home run and four RBI
in his two games since returning. He walked with the bases loaded to force in a run in the first inning Friday, then singled in a run in the seven-run third.
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