Diamondbacks 7, Devil Rays 4
One night before, the Diamondbacks had matched the biggest comeback in franchise history. The momentum carried over for a 7-4 victory over the Devil Rays, with Tracy and Eric Byrnes each hitting a three-run homer.
“We had a good feeling,” Tracy said. “We definitely fed off last night.”
Wednesday’s game began less than 14 hours after Arizona beat Tampa Bay 10-8 on Tuesday night, tying a team record by rallying from a six-run deficit. Thanks to Tracy and Byrnes, the Diamondbacks led 6-0 after four innings Wednesday.
After losing their first seven games against Tampa Bay, the Diamondbacks have won two in a row over their 1998 expansion partners.
Byrnes went 4-for-5 with a double and two singles. He doubled in the first, singled in the third and homered in the fourth, all off starter James Shields (6-2). Byrnes added another single in the sixth against Brian Stokes.
Byrnes came up in the eighth needing a triple for the cycle, but he bounced back to the pitcher.
“I’m not that smart, but I’m smart enough to know that a triple means a cycle,” Byrnes said. “Unfortunately, hitting the ball like 10 feet won’t get you a triple.”
That out also ended a string of hits in seven consecutive at-bats for Byrnes, tying a franchise mark. It’s been done three other times.
“That’s what he’s given us all year is that kind of energy,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Micah Owings (5-1) won his fourth straight decision. Owings allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, walking two and striking out seven.
An important inning for Owings was the third, with the game still scoreless. He gave up a leadoff walk to Akinori Iwamura, who stole second and went to third on catcher Miguel Montero’s throwing error.
“I just had to key in and do what I could to get out of it,” Owings said.
Jose Valverde worked a perfect ninth for his 23rd save in 26 chances. It was his 74th career save, tying Matt Mantei for the club record.
“That’s a big one for him,” Melvin said.
The Diamondbacks put the leadoff batter on in each of the first four innings. In the third, Owings and Byrnes opened with singles, and two outs later Tracy hit a 1-1 pitch into the right-field seats to give Arizona a 3-0 lead. It was Tracy’s fourth homer.
In the fourth, Carlos Quentin and Montero singled. They scored on Byrnes’ team-high 11th homer, a drive to left-center that made it 6-0.
“Those two (homers) were just huge off a very tough pitcher,” Melvin said.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said he thought Shields pitched better than his numbers indicated. Shields allowed a season-high six runs and 10 hits in five innings, his shortest start this season. He walked none and struck out five.
“I’m just saying that it came down to two pitches that made it a bad day for him, otherwise he would have gotten deeper into that game,” Maddon said.
Shields has lost consecutive decisions after starting 6-0. He said the homers by Tracy and Byrnes ruined an otherwise solid performance.
“No doubt about it, I didn’t think they were hitting the ball that hard,” Shields said. “They were getting the balls through the hole, though. I felt I minimized my damage the best I could besides those two pitches.”
Those pitches put the Devil Rays in a big hole, and they couldn’t climb out, although they tried.
Tampa Bay cut it to 6-1 on Norton’s RBI single in the fifth. An inning later, the Devil Rays chased Owings.
Arizona made it 7-4 on Orlando Hudson’s RBI single in the bottom half.
Shields went 1-for-2 with a single in the fifth, raising his lifetime average to .286 (4-for-14). … Shields’ fifth-inning single was the eighth hit by a Tampa Bay pitcher this year, a single-season record for hits by an AL team’s pitchers in interleague play. The 1997 Texas Rangers had the previous record, seven.