The Cincinnati Reds will look to start a new winning streak on Sunday in Arizona after the Diamondbacks snapped their string of six straight wins.
Arizona evened the three-game series with an 8-3 win Saturday night behind leadoff batter Tim Locastro’s career-high four hits and Eduardo Escobar’s home run in a third consecutive game. It was the first time this season the Reds were held to fewer than five runs.
“The idea is to just keep hitting the ball hard,” said Reds manager David Bell, whose team’s 63 runs through its first seven games was the best mark in franchise history. “If we continue to do that, good things will happen.”
The Reds will start Jose De Leon (0-0, 3.60 ERA) against Luke Weaver (0-0, 4.76) in the battle of right-handers.
De Leon has one career start with a 9.82 ERA against the Diamondbacks, going 3 2/3 innings with a no-decision when he was a Los Angeles Dodgers starter in 2016.
Weaver is 3-0 with a 5.06 ERA in his career against the Reds in six games, five of them starts, spanning 26 2/3 innings.
Cincinnati had the best major-league record of 6-1 entered Saturday, propelled by strong starting pitching.
Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo homer off Reds right-hander Jeff Hoffman in the fourth inning ended a 24-inning scoreless streak by the team’s starters.
Locastro’s sixth-inning stolen base was his second of the year and he set a major-league record in the process. It was his 28th stolen base in 28 attempts to start his career, breaking the record of 27 set by Tim Raines from 1979-81.
Locastro started his professional career in 2013 in the Toronto Blue Jays organization and Raines was one of his coaches.
“He is one of those guys you don’t want him to hit the ball hard and you don’t want him to hit the ball soft because you saw what he can do (with his speed),” Hoffman said of Locastro. “Hats off to him for the night that he had. He is a pain to deal with on the bases.”
Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed returned to the lineup on Saturday after he was reinstated earlier in the day from the 10-day injured list. Ahmed, who was sidelined with a knee injury coming out of spring training, went 0-for-3 while batting seventh in the lineup.
“(Ahmed’s) been one of our regulars since I’ve been the manager here,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “He’s one of the best shortstops in baseball. The industry is aware of that, so just getting that guy back in the lineup is going to be tremendous for us and push us in a very, very good direction.”
Ahmed’s return occurred a day after outfielder Kole Calhoun came back from the 10-day injured list. Calhoun was reinstated after having knee surgery on March 3 to repair a right medial meniscus tear.
–Field Level Media