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Encarnacion hits ninth-inning HR to help Dusty get first Reds win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CINCINNATI -- When Edwin Encarnacion failed to get down a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the ninth, freezing while strike two sailed past him, the few thousand fans left in the ballpark let out another boo.

He's heard that sound a few times already in the young season.

The third baseman collected himself and connected on the next pitch, hitting a three-run homer that gave the Cincinnati Reds their first win under manager Dusty Baker, 6-5 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

"It doesn't matter how you win 'em," Baker said. "That first one always seems like the toughest one."

Until the ninth, no one had it tougher than Encarnacion.

His wild throw home on a forceout attempt gave the Diamondbacks a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning. The 14,016 fans didn't like that one - Encarnacion's second throwing error of the season was soundly berated.

"I don't know what happened there," said Encarnacion, who has a history of throwing the ball away. "Errors are part of the game. You've just got to keep your head up. I said, 'There's five more innings, and anything can happen."'

Nothing much happened until the ninth, when the Diamondbacks turned a 5-3 lead over to Brandon Lyon, their new closer. He got the job after Arizona traded Jose Valverde in the offseason.

Valverde led the NL with 47 saves last season. Lyon converted his first chance in the season opener, a 4-2 win on Monday. This time, he didn't even get an out.

Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn opened with singles, bringing up Encarnacion. Many of the fans had already left Great American Ball Park, figuring there was little chance of a comeback.

With Encarnacion trying to get down his first sacrifice bunt in the majors, Lyon threw a breaking ball that froze him for strike two. Then, he tried to put him away with a fastball.

Bad decision.

"I put myself in a bad situation, and I just couldn't make enough quality pitches to get out of it," Lyon said. "It's a tough loss for us.

"It looks like we should have just let him bunt it. I tried to go away (with the next pitch), but left it over the plate and he went with it."

The ball landed in the lower deck in left field, sending Reds players streaming into semicircle around home plate. Encarnacion was giddily engulfed the moment he arrived.

"Of course he was going to put pressure on himself," Phillips said. "I'm glad it happened the way it did. It's a beautiful thing to see it happen to a young player like Edwin."

Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the top of the ninth, putting him in position for the win. He got a break when Eric Byrnes ran into his soft grounder in front of the plate, drawing an interference call that provided the second out of the inning.

Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr. remained hitless in two games, leaving him seven homers shy of becoming the sixth player to reach 600.

Until the ninth, right-hander Dan Haren was the star. He doubled, scored a run, hit a sacrifice fly and pitched six innings during his Diamondbacks debut, putting the defending NL West champions in position for another close win.

Haren wasn't feeling good when he arrived at the ballpark -- he had a scratchy throat, an indication that he's coming down with a virus going through the clubhouse. Nothing about his performance was sickly.

"Just the stuff going around the clubhouse," Haren said. "I didn't have as much energy today. The Adrenalin gets going once you get out there."

He gave up four hits in six innings, including Corey Patterson's solo homer and Phillips' two-run shot in the fourth.

Haren also started Arizona's go-ahead rally. He doubled off Bronson Arroyo in the fifth, when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out. Encarnacion threw high and wide of catcher Paul Bako as he tried to force Haren at the plate on a routine grounder, leading to a pair of unearned runs.

Haren added a sacrifice fly in the sixth for the 5-3 lead.

Notes

  • Haren's double was his fifth hit in 55 career at-bats.
  • LH Doug Davis expects to start Thursday. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last week and will have surgery on April 10. He wants to keep pitching until then.
  • Stephen Drew hit a solo homer. The Diamondbacks have four homers in two games, all solo shots.
  • 1B Conor Jackson was taken to a hospital for treatment after the game. He's been sick for several days and had trouble breathing.
 
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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Edwin Encarnacion gets a welcome home party after his HR in the ninth lifts the Reds past the D-Backs.  (AP)
Edwin Encarnacion gets a welcome home party after his HR in the ninth lifts the Reds past the D-Backs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

E. Encarnacion
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Arizona

D. Haren
IP 6.0
H 4
ER 3
BB 1
K 4
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF2210301 .333
Orlando Hudson, 2B3020100 .286
Eric Byrnes, LF4001104 .125
Conor Jackson, 1B2000002 .200
   a- Chris Burke, PH-1B2001013 .000
Chris Snyder, C4000032 .143
Mark Reynolds, 3B4110020 .125
Stephen Drew, SS4121000 .250
Justin Upton, RF4010022 .125
Dan Haren, P2111000 .500
    Chad Qualls, P0000000 .000
    Tony Pena, P0000000 .000
   b- Alex Romero, PH0000000 .000
    Brandon Lyon, P0000000 .000
Totals3158458  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Jackson in the 5th
b-hit a sacrifice bunt for Pena in the 9th
Batting
2B - Chris Young (1, Arroyo), Stephen Drew (1, Coffey), Dan Haren (1, Arroyo)
HR - Stephen Drew (1, Arroyo)
SF - Chris Burke (1), Dan Haren (1)
SH - Orlando Hudson (1), Alex Romero (1)
RBI - Eric Byrnes (2), Chris Burke (1), Stephen Drew (1), Dan Haren (1)
2-OUT RBI - Stephen Drew (1)
SB - Chris Young (1, 3rd base off Arroyo/Bako), Eric Byrnes (1, 2nd base off Arroyo/Bako)
PK - Orlando Hudson (1, Coffey)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Drew-Jackson
Arizona Diamondbacks
Dan Haren 6433142 4.50
Chad Qualls (H,2) 1100020 0.00
Tony Pena (H,2) 1100000 0.00
Brandon Lyon (BS,1; L,0-1)0333001 27.00
WP - Dan Haren (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 90-48, Chad Qualls 17-11, Tony Pena 13-9, Brandon Lyon 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 8-5, Tony Pena 1-2
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 22, Chad Qualls 4, Tony Pena 4, Brandon Lyon 3
Cincinnati Reds
Corey Patterson, CF4111000 .125
Jeff Keppinger, SS3130100 .429
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4000014 .000
Brandon Phillips, 2B4222001 .375
Adam Dunn, LF4110020 .143
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4113020 .167
Joey Votto, 1B3010000 .333
Paul Bako, C3000001 .000
Bronson Arroyo, P1000010 .000
   a- Norris Hopper, PH1000000 .000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Freel, PH1000000 .000
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
Totals3269616  
a-grounded out for Arroyo in the 5th
b-popped out for Mercker in the 8th
Batting
HR - Corey Patterson (1, Haren), Brandon Phillips (1, Haren), Edwin Encarnacion (1, Lyon)
RBI - Corey Patterson (1), Brandon Phillips 2 (3), Edwin Encarnacion 3 (3)
SB - Jeff Keppinger (1, 2nd base off Haren/Snyder)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Edwin Encarnacion (2, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo 5442351 3.60
Todd Coffey 2311000 4.50
Kent Mercker 1000020 0.00
Jeremy Affeldt (W,1-0) 1100210 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 94-54, Todd Coffey 33-19, Kent Mercker 19-14, Jeremy Affeldt 24-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 5-6, Todd Coffey 1-4, Jeremy Affeldt 2-0
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 23, Todd Coffey 8, Kent Mercker 3, Jeremy Affeldt 6
Game Information
Attendance - 14016
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 51
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth