With the postseason long since out of reach, the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres are left with watching their respective sluggers Mark Reynolds(notes) and Adrian Gonzalez(notes) try to reach career milestones.
The Diamondbacks’ Reynolds will try to move closer to the NL home run lead, and the Padres’ Gonzalez will attempt to reach 40 homers for the first time in Sunday’s finale of a three-game series.
Arizona (67-88) occupies the NL West cellar and is 4 1/2 games behind San Diego (72-84), but Reynolds’ career year has provided a pleasant distraction.
The third baseman hit his 44th homer and Chad Tracy’s(notes) pinch-hit grand slam put the Diamondbacks ahead for good in Saturday night’s 8-5 win. Reynolds moved into sole possession of second place in the NL home run race—three behind St. Louis’ Albert Pujols(notes).
He also has a career-high 101 RBIs after driving in 97 last season.
“That was one of my goals at the beginning of the season,” Reynolds told Arizona’s official Web site this week. “It was kind of like the monkey off my back. Now I can just go out there and have fun.”
Gonzalez drove in a run as the Padres snapped a three-game win streak and lost for the only the 10th time in 30 games since Aug. 25. The All-Star first baseman set a career high with his previous homer Monday night in Pittsburgh and has seven RBIs in the last seven games.
He needs four to reach 100 for the third straight season.
Gonzalez has homered off Diamondbacks’ scheduled starter Billy Buckner(notes) (2-6, 6.75 ERA), but Reynolds is 0 for 5 with four strikeouts against Padres counterpart Edward Mujica(notes) (3-4, 3.77), who will make his fourth career start.
Reynolds has struck out 414 times over the past two years and set a single-season major league record with 210 strikeouts—the second straight year he set the record.
The third baseman will try to avoid adding to that mark and help Buckner snap a five-game slide. Since returning from Triple-A Reno, he is 0-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four starts and that stretch includes a Sept. 14 road matchup with the Padres.
Buckner did not get a decision in a 4-2 win despite yielding two runs over six innings. He took a loss May 27 to San Diego by giving up five runs over five innings.
Mujica hasn’t received a decision in his three starts, including the Padres’ 6-5 win in 10 innings over Arizona on Sept. 16. The right-hander allowed two runs over 4 2-3 innings but followed by giving up six while failing to make it out of the third in Tuesday night’s 11-10 loss in Colorado.
San Diego’s .607 winning percentage (34-22) since July 28 ranks third in the majors behind St. Louis and the New York Yankees’ .679, and the Padres are one of three teams to have a winning second half after posting a losing record before the All-Star break.
However, Arizona leads the season series 10-7, winning five of eight at home.