Mark Reynolds Improves Two-Strike Approach

Mark Reynolds whiffed once every 2.64 at-bats last season on route to establishing a new single-season strikeout record of 204. He has cut that figure down to once every 3.08 at-bats in the early going this year, which is actually a better rate than teammate Justin Upton (3.00). His 13 strikeouts is second on the team to Chris Young, who has 14

Third baseman Mark Reynolds has a new two-strike approach this season, although he did not let the count get that deep in his pivotal at-bats Monday.  Reynolds homered for the third time in six games and also had an RBI double when the Diamondbacks scored more runs in the space of four batters (three) than they did in their entire weekend series in San Francisco.

The homer came on a 2-0 pitch in the second inning.  Reynolds later doubled on a 1-0 pitch in the fourth before walking on a full-count pitch in the fifth, just before catcher Miguel Montero hit his first home run of the season to cap a four-run inning.

With two strikes, Reynolds is trying to shift his weight without striding forward, keeping both feet in place in the batter's box. It is the kind of stance that worked well for former Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell.

"It's just a minor change ... not getting homer happy, just stay in the middle of the field and put more balls in play and see what happens," Reynolds said. "I tried it early in the spring and it was really working for me. I just decided to do it. I worked on it pretty hard in 'BP' (batting practice) and it felt good. It's something that I'm going to continue to do."

Reynolds tied several Diamondbacks for the team lead in homers with three during spring training.  He went .323/.377/.516, although only Justin Upton and Joshua Whitesell amassed more strikeouts.  In an all-or-nothing 2008 season, Reynolds led the D-backs with 28 homers and 97 RBI, while setting a major league record with 204 strikeouts in his first full year in the majors.

"Obviously, I take pride in what I do. I'm not up there to strike out or swing for the fences," he said. "I want to be more of a complete hitter. I think with this approach, hopefully I'll follow through with it and I'll be more consistent."

DIAMONDBACKS 6, ROCKIES 3: C Miguel Montero capped a four-run fourth inning with a three-run home run and 3B Mark Reynolds hit his third homer of the season as the D-backs broke out of an offensive funk with 10 hits. RHP Jon Garland won his first career start against Colorado.

SNAKE BYTES

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The D-backs are five games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles, further back in the division than they have been since the final day of the 2006 season. The D-backs led or were tied for the NL West lead from April 6th to September 5th last year and never were more than 4 1/2 games behind. Their biggest deficit before winning the division in 2007 was 4 1/2 games.

--SS Stephen Drew (left hamstring) did some pregame running Monday but was held out of the starting lineup for the third straight game after feeling a twinge while running out a groundball in the third inning Friday at San Francisco. "We don't want it to linger. That's why we're taking care of it now," Drew said. Manager Bob Melvin expects Drew to start Tuesday or Wednesday against southpaws Franklin Morales and Jorge de la Rosa.  The D-backs are 0-5 against left-handed starters this year.

--RHP Tom Gordon (elbow) gave up three hits and two runs in one inning Sunday for Class AAA Reno, in his first rehab appearance. One of the hits was a bunt single and another was a looping single to right field. Gordon is scheduled to pitch for Reno again Tuesday.

--RHP Jon Garland made his second quality start of the season while winning his first career appearance against Colorado on Monday, 6-3. Garland has beaten the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Rockies this season in his first career starts against both. Garland spent his previous nine seasons in the American League although he had faced the majority of the NL teams in interleague play.

DIAMOND STAT: 5.5 -- Number of games back the Dodgers were at the end of April last year.  They would overtake the D-backs in September as the first team ever to overcome such a deficit after one month and advance to the NLCS.

QUOTABLE:  "At some point of the season you are going to go 4-8. We just did it to start off." -- Manager Bob Melvin


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