PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks fell just short of capping off their home opener with a victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
Despite a valiant effort late in the meeting, Arizona couldn’t make up for its early-game struggles on both sides of the ball, losing 6-5 in 10 innings.
Instead of hanging their heads, however, the D-backs came ready to play in Game 2 of the series.
Led by outfielder Tim Locastro’s career night, the D-backs (3-6) jumped all over the Reds with a massive fifth inning to secure an 8-3 shelling of the visiting team. The loss hands Cincinnati (6-2) just its second loss of the season.
Locastro made his impact felt from the jump, leading off the first inning with a single on the first offering.
It was just a sign of what was to come for the outfielder, whose effort was on display throughout the night.
Setting a new career mark in hits (4) while claiming a new MLB record in consecutive stolen base attempts (28-for-28) to start his career, Locastro was doing a little bit of everything. You can’t teach effort.
“I got to make mention of Timmy Locastro with four hits. And then you’re talking about major league records. I was reading up on it because I felt like this day was coming,” skipper Torey Lovullo said via Zoom after the win. “When they started keeping track of these kinda things, it might have been not all the way back in the early history of Major League Baseball but it’s long enough.
“It goes back far enough, 40-50 years, we’re talking about a major league record. That’s a very special moment for him and we’re certainly proud of him. A lot of hard work, a lot of studying, a lot of trust goes into something like that happening. He has a lot to be proud of.”
Setting an MLB record is memorable in itself, but passing up Hall of Famer Tim Raines made it that much more meaningful in more ways than one.
“He was actually my first baserunning coach when I got drafted by the Blue Jays, so that’s why it’s pretty special” Locastro said.
“As a young player you try to take some things away and just always being ready to go,” Locastro added of what Raines taught him. “Having the confidence to steal a base and not being timid. … Being aggressive on the bases and being confident.”
And as for his custom-painted cleats? Those are now headed to Cooperstown after just two games, while the base he stole is on its way back to his parents’ basement. The same basement he was in the process of painting before being called up to the big leagues.
“That’s going right into my parents’ basement, guaranteed. Didn’t even think twice about it,” Locastro said. “My mom’s out here, so she was able to see this tonight. When I’m done with [media availability] I’m going to go up and hand it to her and it will go right in the basement.”
While Locastro brought the speed, third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Eduardo Escobar brought the power.
Despite Locastro’s hot start to the game, the D-backs faced a 2-0 deficit heading into the fourth frame after starting pitcher Riley Smith was dinged for two runs in the second inning of his first career MLB start.
Two pitches later into the inning, however, and the Reds’ lead was trimmed to a single run with a single swing of the bat after Cabrera sent one screaming into the right field stands for his second home run of the season.
He continued his scoring ways in the fifth.
Kicked off by a Locastro single, the D-backs quickly filled the bases with just one out in the frame with Cabrera up to bat.
Instead of using his power to add to the scoreboard, he used his eyes, bringing in a run off of a bases-loaded walk.
That kicked Arizona into high gear, as Escobar responded with an RBI single two pitches later before catcher Stephen Vogt blew the game wide open with a 2-run single. A Reds fielding error would bring another run home, catapulting the D-backs to a 6-2 advantage.
Escobar would provide the knockout punch in the seventh inning with a solo shot following first baseman Christian Walker scoring a run courtesy of a sac fly in the sixth.
Escobar’s bomb marked the third in as many games for the second baseman. It’s the second time in his career he’s achieved the feat. Escobar finished with two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
It was just what the doctor ordered after a frustrating stretch of games of late.
“It was a pretty solid victory for us, pretty complete,” Lovullo said. “We just had quality at-bat after quality at-bat. You could see how an inning was built. It was built by being patient.
“We had a couple really amazing hustle play situations where we’re beating throws into second base. Those are team moments, those are really key team moments that we talk about. About being there for your teammate.”
The D-backs will look for their first series win of the year when they take on the Reds Sunday at 1:10. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for all the action.
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