|Arizona (1-0) «||1||0||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||4||5||0|
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?
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."
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."
|Arizona's Chris Young celebrates after hitting one of the D-Backs' three homers. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Chris Young, CF||4||1||1||1||0||3||0||.250|
|Orlando Hudson, 2B||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Eric Byrnes, LF||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.250|
|Conor Jackson, 1B||3||0||1||1||1||0||0||.333|
|Chris Snyder, C||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.333|
|Mark Reynolds, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.000|
|Stephen Drew, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Justin Upton, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.000|
|Brandon Webb, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|a- Jeff Salazar, PH||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||1.000|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Tony Pena, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brandon Lyon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-homered for Webb in the 7th|
|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|
|DP - Reynolds-Hudson-Jackson|
|Brandon Webb (W,1-0)||6||3||2||2||4||6||0||3.00|
|Chad Qualls (H,1)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Tony Pena (H,1)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0.00|
|Brandon Lyon (S,1)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||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|
|Corey Patterson, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.000|
|Jeff Keppinger, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.000|
|Ken Griffey Jr., RF||3||1||0||0||1||2||0||.000|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||3||0||.250|
|Adam Dunn, LF||3||0||0||1||1||1||0||.000|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||2||0||0||0||2||1||1||.000|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.000|
|Javier Valentin, C||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.333|
|Aaron Harang, P||2||0||1||0||0||1||1||.500|
|Jared Burton, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Norris Hopper, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|David Weathers, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Francisco Cordero, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-hit by pitch for Burton in the 7th|
|3B - Brandon Phillips (1, Webb)|
|RBI - Brandon Phillips (1), Adam Dunn (1)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Edwin Encarnacion (1, Throwing)|
|Aaron Harang (L,0-1)||6||3||3||2||2||6||2||3.00|
|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|
|Attendance - 42498|
|Game Time - 2:36|
|Temperature - 57|
|Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Doug Eddings|