The Arizona Diamondbacks have held at least a share of first place in the NL West since April 5. Houston natives Chris Snyder and Chris Young helped keep it that way with big nights at the plate in their hometown.
After coming through offensively to help keep their club tied atop the division, Snyder and Young look to put on another show for their friends and family as the Diamondbacks continue a three-game series against the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Snyder played high school baseball at Spring Woods High School in Houston and went on to star at the University of Houston. His hometown hadn’t been kind to him in his first visits as a major-leaguer, as he went 4-for-20 (.200) with one home run and six strikeouts in his first six games there.
However, Snyder redeemed himself in Houston on Friday night, going 2-for-4 with a home run and a season-high four RBIs to lead the Diamondbacks (63-59) to a 12-2 win over the Astros.
“It feels good, you can’t lie, having a night like that in front of family and friends,” said Snyder, batting .333 (7-for-21) with three homers and 10 RBIs during a six-game hitting streak. “Coming home is great. But that’s icing on the cake right there.”
Young, a high school star at nearby Bellaire High School, added an RBI single in the fifth inning and a solo homer in the seventh. He’s batting .385 (15-for-39) in 10 career games against the Astros, including .444 (8-for-18) with three homers in four contests at Minute Maid Park.
“The adrenaline flow is through the roof,” Young said. “When you’re playing in front of 50 family members and everybody is expecting something, it’s kind of like a playoff atmosphere almost.”
Thanks to the Houstonians and starting pitcher Brandon Webb, who got his major league-leading 18th win, the Diamondbacks remained in a first-place tie with the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat Milwaukee. Arizona hasn’t been in second place since it was 3-2 on April 5.
The Astros (62-60) had their season-high eight-game win streak snapped with Friday’s loss, which also halted the club’s seven-game run at home.
“Tomorrow’s going to come pretty quick, so you have to (bounce back),” Astros manager Cecil Cooper told the team’s official Web site. “We have another tough one tomorrow and one on Sunday as well. Then we’ve got a pretty tough road trip, so we’ve got to turn the page pretty quickly and find that fire again.”
They’ll try to find it against Diamondbacks starter Yusmeiro Petit (1-3, 3.12 ERA), who has lost his last two starts with a 4.50 ERA in those games. The right-hander allowed two runs in five innings of a 6-4 defeat against Atlanta last Thursday, and gave up four runs in 1 2-3 innings of relief in his only previous game against Houston.
The Astros hope to get back on track with Brandon Backe (7-11, 5.14) on the mound. After getting tagged for a career-high 11 runs in a loss to the Chicago Cubs in his previous start, the right-hander held San Francisco to one run and four hits in seven innings of a 3-1 victory Monday.
Backe gave up five runs and 12 hits in five innings of his only previous start against Arizona—an 8-7, 11-inning Houston loss on July 28, 2006.