PITTSBURGH - Chris Snyder’s first major league home run ball caromed back onto the field and was retrieved by a Pittsburgh Pirates bat boy, who proceeded to give it to an infant in a front-row seat at PNC Park.
This caused a Diamondbacks team official to stress the importance of the team getting the ball back.
“With all the young players we have,” he said, “big league firsts are all we do around here these days.”
More Arizona players moved into virgin territory on Monday, as pitcher Casey Fossum had his first hit, and relief pitcher Shane Nance his first win. It all added up to a 5-4 triumph over the Pirates that resulted in two more satisfying firsts:
The D-Backs won a one-run decision on the road for the first time since June 11 at Toronto, and it was their first come-from-behind victory away from home since June 13, also against the Blue Jays.
“Every move we made turned out well for us, and everyone contributed,” manager Al Pedrique said. “We got timely hitting, played good defense, ran the bases well and had good pitching. Overall, it was a great team effort.”
Shortstop Alex Cintron — having a disappointing year, he was challenged by the team with the promotion of minor league infielder Jerry Gil during the weekend — delivered the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning.
After pinch hitter Carlos Baerga hit a high chopper off home plate for an infield single, pinch runner Gil was sacrificed to second. That brought up Cintron, who sent left-handed reliever John Grabow’s pitch up the middle for his second hit and second RBI of the game.
“It’s a great feeling because I’ve played poorly the whole season,” said Cintron, who had a run-scoring double in the second. “Gil is up here, so I have to step up and do my job at shortstop.
“I have confidence. I contributed two big runs for us, big runs.”
Earlier in the second inning, Snyder belted his home run, a two-run shot, on a hanging curveball from Pirates starting pitcher John Van Benschoten. Snyder, who had his first big league hit on Saturday, got the ball back in exchange for another baseball.
“It will probably go in the trophy case with my first hit,” said Snyder, who added a third-inning sacrifice fly.
“There was a base open and the pitcher on deck. He was throwing a lot of curveballs. The pitch was up, and I was able to get enough bat on it.”
Incidentally, in the bottom of the second, Van Benschoten laced his first big league homer off Fossum.
Fossum — who singled in the second for his first hit in 27 at-bats in the majors — allowed four runs in the first three frames, but settled down. In six innings, he gave up eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“Once it was tied (at 4-4 after three innings), I made some pitches when I had to and got us out of jams with guys on base,” Fossum said. "I had good command of the strike zone the last three innings.”