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Arizona at Cincinnati

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Arizona (1-0) «102000100450
Cincinnati (0-1)000200000231

Webb silences Reds in Baker's Cincy debut

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- Overpowering pitching, perfect defense and just enough runs. The Arizona Diamondbacks opened the season with the same blueprint that won them 90 games and a division title the last time around.

Why change what works?

Brandon Webb pitched six innings Monday, and the light-hitting Diamondbacks piled up three solo homers in a 4-2 victory that dampened Dusty Baker's debut as the Cincinnati Reds manager.

Unlike Baker's new team, the defending NL West champs have a knack for winning the close ones.

"That's exactly how we won a lot of them," said Chris Young, who hit the first of the three homers. "The starter goes six, then it's 7-8-9 and get it done."

Webb (1-0) allowed three hits and a pair of runs in six innings for a breakthrough victory. The right-hander had 34 wins the past two seasons -- tied with Carlos Zambrano for most in the NL -- but hadn't gotten a victory in his two previous opening day starts.

Pitching against the team he followed as a youth, the northern Kentucky native finally won an opener with a six-strikeout performance. More than two dozen relatives and friends found a way to get tickets for the sold-out game.

"Opening day is so special here in Cincinnati," said Webb, who never got tickets to one when he was growing up in Ashland, Ky. "To do it so close here and have that many fans behind me, it was definitely sweet."

Even the Reds noticed.

"We had a lot of people, but I think half of them were from Webb's hometown," Baker said. "He pitched an outstanding game against us. That's not the outcome you want to have."

A new-look bullpen held on. Brandon Lyon, assuming the role of traded closer Jose Valverde, pitched a perfect ninth for the save, closing out a combined three-hitter. The Reds didn't get a runner into scoring position in the last five innings.

"I think we were trying to do too much," said Brandon Phillips, whose triple set up both of Cincinnati's runs. "It was like we were trying to prove something instead of trying to win the game. A lot of guys were swinging at balls they don't normally swing at."

Young and Eric Byrnes homered off Aaron Harang (0-1), and Jeff Salazar added his third career pinch-hit homer off Jared Burton in a rare show of power by the Diamondbacks' lineup.

Ken Griffey Jr. made no progress in pursuit of his 600th career homer. He remained seven shy after going 0-for-3 with a walk. Griffey is second all-time in opening day homers with seven -- one behind Frank Robinson -- but hasn't hit one since 1999.

The Reds turned the opener into a tribute to former pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall, who died last November. A cold, misty rain was falling when Reds coaches and players took the field for pregame introductions wearing jerseys that had Nuxhall's No. 41 and his name on the back.

All but Harang switched into their regular jerseys for the game. Harang got permission from Major League Baseball to wear his during the game, then donate it to the team's hall of fame.

"They came to me and asked me to wear it, and I didn't think twice about it," Harang said. "I started knowing him in '03, and you're not going to find a better guy."

In different ways, both teams were looking for big change at the outset.

The Diamondbacks won the NL West despite one of the league's worst offenses -- a collective .250 batting average that ranked last. They're counting on the continued development of the majors' youngest roster to improve the offense.

For the Reds, it's about ending a seven-year losing streak, their worst in a half-century. Baker's job is to bring a winning attitude to a clubhouse that knows little about it.

In the opener, Arizona got exactly what it wanted.

Young, who set a club rookie record with 32 homers last season, sent a solo shot into the upper deck in left field in the third inning. One out later, Byrnes homered for a 3-0 lead.

Phillips' hit to center skipped off the slick grass and went to the wall for an RBI triple in the fourth. Phillips scored on Adam Dunn's groundout, making it 3-2 and putting the Diamondbacks on familiar ground.

Last year, Arizona led the majors with 32 one-run wins. Already, they're 1-0 this season in close ones.

"Similar to the way we semi-drew it up last year, at least at the end there," manager Bob Melvin said. "Big hits for our guys, albeit not too many of them."

Notes

  • Rain delayed the first pitch by 59 minutes. It was the first rain delay in a Cincinnati opener since 2000, when Griffey made his hometown debut.
  • Last year, mayor Mark Mallory was so far off target on the ceremonial first pitch that he became a national celebrity. County commissioner Todd Portune was down the middle with his toss on Monday.
  • It was Baker's third season opener in Cincinnati as a manager. He had won his other three -- with the Giants in 1999 and the Cubs in 2004 and 2006.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Arizona's Chris Young celebrates after hitting one of the D-Backs' three homers.  (AP)
Arizona's Chris Young celebrates after hitting one of the D-Backs' three homers. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

B. Webb
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 4
K 6
Cincinnati

B. Phillips
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF4111030 .250
Orlando Hudson, 2B4100000 .000
Eric Byrnes, LF4111001 .250
Conor Jackson, 1B3011100 .333
Chris Snyder, C3010101 .333
Mark Reynolds, 3B4000023 .000
Stephen Drew, SS4000011 .000
Justin Upton, RF4000021 .000
Brandon Webb, P2000010 .000
   a- Jeff Salazar, PH11110001.000
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
Totals3345429  
a-homered for Webb in the 7th
Batting
HR - Chris Young (1, Harang), Eric Byrnes (1, Harang), Jeff Salazar (1, Burton)
RBI - Chris Young (1), Eric Byrnes (1), Conor Jackson (1), Jeff Salazar (1)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Byrnes (1), Conor Jackson (1), Jeff Salazar (1)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Reynolds-Hudson-Jackson
Arizona Diamondbacks
Brandon Webb (W,1-0) 6322460 3.00
Chad Qualls (H,1) 1000010 0.00
Tony Pena (H,1) 1000010 0.00
Brandon Lyon (S,1) 1000020 0.00
HBP - Hopper (by Chad Qualls)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Webb 90-56, Chad Qualls 11-7, Tony Pena 12-9, Brandon Lyon 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Webb 6-5, Tony Pena 1-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Webb 24, Chad Qualls 4, Tony Pena 3, Brandon Lyon 3
Cincinnati Reds
Corey Patterson, CF4000003 .000
Jeff Keppinger, SS4000012 .000
Ken Griffey Jr., RF3100120 .000
Brandon Phillips, 2B4111030 .250
Adam Dunn, LF3001110 .000
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B2000211 .000
Scott Hatteberg, 1B4000012 .000
Javier Valentin, C3010001 .333
Aaron Harang, P2010011 .500
    Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
   a- Norris Hopper, PH0000000 .000
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
    Francisco Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals29232410  
a-hit by pitch for Burton in the 7th
Batting
3B - Brandon Phillips (1, Webb)
RBI - Brandon Phillips (1), Adam Dunn (1)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Edwin Encarnacion (1, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Aaron Harang (L,0-1) 6332262 3.00
Jared Burton 1111021 9.00
David Weathers 1000000 0.00
Francisco Cordero 1100010 0.00
WP - Aaron Harang (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 99-61, Jared Burton 17-10, David Weathers 12-8, Francisco Cordero 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 7-6, David Weathers 1-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 24, Jared Burton 4, David Weathers 3, Francisco Cordero 4
Game Information
Attendance - 42498
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Doug Eddings