Callups mash in support of Scherzer
Allen, Hester ensure uneven righty picks up win No. 8
PHOENIX -- Max Scherzer spent more time watching his Arizona teammates hit pitches than he did making his own against the Astros on Friday night. The downtime clearly had an adverse effect on the young right-hander's rhythm.No complaints from Scherzer, though. It is hard to argue against a torrent of 10 runs within three innings -- including seven in the third -- that set up a 14-7 Arizona victory. "Getting those early runs is always nice. You can just go back out there and throw strikes and get the ball in play," Scherzer said. "It makes your job easier." It does not, however, make it prettier. But surviving six innings was enough for Scherzer (8-8) on a night the D-backs pulled rank on a trio of young Houston pitchers with a 16-hit attack. The splurge was led by Houston native Brandon Allen, who went 3-for-4 in his first home game with the D-backs, and John Hester, who clubbed a pinch-hit two-run homer in his first Major League at-bat. Hester, called up from Triple-A Reno prior to the game, sent a 2-2 pitch from reliever Wilton Lopez in the sixth over the fence in center to become the second Arizona player to deliver a first-at-bat homer this season. Gerardo Parra did it on May 13 against the Reds. The home run, bringing to life both a crowd of 26,190 and the Arizona dugout, fittingly came with Allen on base. A week ago, the two were teammates in Reno. "We were together for 30-some games," Allen said, "and got some good vibes going. It's pretty cool what he did. I'm happy for him." Friends and family watching the game in Conroe, Texas, a suburb of Houston, were happy for Allen. His contribution to the seven-run third was minor -- a single which helped set up Alex Romero's three-run homer. But he figured in four of the D-backs' five scoring innings. "All that's nice, but there are 30 teams in the Major Leagues, and you've got to produce against all the others, too," Allen said. "You have to come out ready to play every day." Allen had plenty of accomplices in an attack which presented Scherzer with a win on a night he clearly was not at his best. Scherzer lasted six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks. Romero's three-run homer capped the seven-run outburst in the third inning that chased Houston starter Yorman Bazardo (0-1). Miguel Montero delivered a solo shot, No. 13, in the sixth, and Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds drove in two runs each. Coming on the heels of their 11-0 victory in San Francisco on Thursday night, it marked the second time the D-backs scored in double figures in consecutive games this season. They posted back-to-back 12-5 Interleague wins in Kansas City on June 17-18. To manager A.J. Hinch, it is no coincidence that the two detonations marked the return of Reynolds following a three-day hiatus with the flu. Reynolds, who now has 90 RBIs to accompany his 39 homers, reunited with Justin Upton and Montero in the middle of the lineup, nudging Allen into the seven-hole. "Having everyone back makes for a longer lineup," Hinch said, "and makes us pretty dangerous. We can be potent, and we're seeing that now that we're together." The D-backs have also totaled 31 hits in their past two games, their second-best output of the season, behind the 34 they amassed on Aug. 6 in Pittsburgh and Aug. 7 in Washington. The offense didn't waste any time overcoming a harrowing start by Scherzer, who walked the first two men he faced, then had Lance Berkman double both home. Scherzer allowed only five hits, but all five went for extra bases -- two homers, two doubles and a triple. "The long innings caught up to him in the end. He was pretty tired," Hinch said. "The run support is great, but the gap time altered his approach. But a pitcher will take 14 runs of support any time."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.