One day after first putting on his Cincinnati uniform, the former Diamondback doubled in the deciding run in the 10th inning to give the Reds a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over fading Arizona on Saturday night.
“Unbelievable,” losing pitcher Tony Pena said.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t,” Diamondback infielder Augie Ojeda added.
The loss, coupled with Los Angeles’ 5-1 victory in Colorado, left the Diamondbacks 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West with 15 games to play.
The Diamondbacks have lost 13 of their past 17.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin said his team just “has to try to win one game and not get caught up in how many games we need to win and whatever. We’ll go out there and play for tomorrow and do the best we can that particular day.”
Owings, arguably the best hitting pitcher in baseball, was sent to the Reds as the “player to be named” in the deal that brought Adam Dunn to Arizona.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Owings said, “and then for the fans here to show their respect for me, it meant a lot.”
In his first appearance for Cincinnati, Owings came up as a pinch hitter with two outs in the 10th and lined one down the left field line, bringing home Chris Dickerson from first.
“Everybody knows he can hit,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “If anybody knows he can hit, they know he can hit.”
Pena (1-2) gave up an unearned run that tied it in the ninth, then the deciding run in the 10th. David Weathers (3-6) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory. Francisco Cordero was perfect in the 10th for his 30th save in 36 opportunities.
All to no avail.
“We had a lot of opportunities to break it open,” Melvin said. “We just couldn’t find a good at-bat when we needed to.”
The Reds trailed 2-1 going into the ninth but tied it with an unearned run.
New closer Chad Qualls was unavailable after appearing in four of six games, so Arizona manager Bob Melvin went to Pena.
Danny Richar and Javier Valentin led off the ninth with singles to put runners at first and third. Corey Patterson flew out to right. Richar retreated to third on Upton’s strong throw home, but the ball got past catcher Miguel Montero for an error, allowing Richar to score.
Johnson was thwarted in his bid for his 295th career victory. The big left-hander, who skipped his previous scheduled start because of shoulder fatigue, allowed one run on five hits before leaving after six innings—and 98 pitches.
Upton led off the seventh with his second double of the night, then Tony Clark walked.
Stephen Drew advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt against left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, then Augie Ojeda bounced to third for the second out. That’s when Baker brought in Roenicke, the 10th Reds player to make his major league debut this season.
The Reds got their lone run off Johnson in the first on Joey Votto’s RBI double.
A Reds miscue helped the Diamondbacks tie it in the fifth. Upton’s pop fly fell untouched between three Cincinnati players—second baseman Adam Rosales, right fielder Jay Bruce and first baseman Votto.
Upton wound up on second with a double. He took third on Drew’s bloop single to short left field, then scored on Ojeda’s groundout to second.
Edinson Volquez got his third straight no-decision for the Reds, throwing 122 pitches before leaving after the first two batters reached base in the seventh. He gave up two runs on five hits, walking six and striking out eight.
Singer Jessica Simpson performed in a postgame concert. It also was Dan Haren bobblehead night. … The Reds haven’t had a 17-game winner since Pete Schourek went 18-7 in 1995.