The Arizona Diamondbacks are winning games and believers in bunches.
Scott Hairston hit the game-winning double in the 11th inning Tuesday night, giving the Arizona Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. It was the Diamondbacks’ sixth straight win and seventh overall, most in the majors. Not bad for a team with a young and untested lineup.
“It’s a young team, but a very talented team,” Hairston said. “I think the state of Arizona is going to start believing in us more.”
Manager Bob Melvin knew his youthful team had talent. He’s learning that it also has heart. For the second straight night, the Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Reds.
“Never say die,” Melvin said. “We’re going to take 27 outs and do the best we can with every one of them.”
Or 32 outs, in this case. With two away in the 11th, Conor Jackson singled off David Weathers (0-1), and Hairston drove a 2-1 pitch off the center-field wall to score Jackson without a play.
“I saw a fastball, outer half (of the plate),” Hairston said. “I just told myself to concentrate and put the ball in play somehow.”
Cincinnati lost its third straight in a homer-filled showdown of early season division leaders.
“Honestly, it really stinks to lose a game like that,” said Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips, who hit a solo homer in the third.
“That’s … baseball,” Phillips said. “It’s a funny game. You can be on top at the beginning, and then at the end it can go to the other team. We just have to learn from this.”
The Reds were poised to win in the top of the 11th, when Adam Dunn led off with a single against Juan Cruz (2-0). After Cruz walked Ken Griffey Jr., he settled down and retired Edwin Encarnacion and David Ross.
Cruz then balked, sending the runners to second and third, before getting Alex Gonzalez on a grounder to third to end the threat.
“Obviously there was some traffic out there, but he ends up getting out of it,” Melvin said.
The Diamondbacks improved to 7-2 and lead San Diego by 1 1-2 games in the NL West.
“We’ve gotten off to a good start,” Melvin said. “It’s a small sampling. We’ve proved nothing. What we have to do is keep going out there and expecting to win every game and keep the energy and the intensity up.”
The Diamondbacks have shown resilience during the win streak, and they needed it again on Tuesday night.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead on Dunn’s 440-foot home run to right-center field in the first inning. The ball bounced off a pavilion above the field and landed in the pool area beyond the right-field fence. It was Dunn’s NL-leading fourth homer in 26 at-bats.
Chad Tracy answered with a three-run homer into the right field bullpen off Reds starter Kyle Lohse in the bottom half.
“That was kind of disappointing,” Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. “First base open and we gave Tracy too good a pitch to hit.”
Diamondbacks starter Edgar Gonzalez couldn’t hold the lead. With one out in the third, he walked Lohse, then gave up a tying home run to outfielder Josh Hamilton.
It was the first big-league hit for Hamilton, who was out of baseball for three years as he struggled with cocaine addiction.
Cincinnati obtained the 25-year-old Hamilton in December, giving the former No. 1 overall draft pick a chance to show he could stay clean and still play. Hamilton, picked first by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in June 1999, was out of baseball from 2003-05.
Phillips followed that with a third homer off Gonzalez, giving the Reds a 4-3 lead. Gonzalez allowed four runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out three.
One inning later, the Diamondbacks tied it on No. 8 hitter Chris Snyder’s home run into the left-field seats. That was the fourth and final run surrendered by Lohse, who gave up six hits in seven innings. He struck out four.
“You’ve got a lead, eight-hole hitter,” Lohse said. “You don’t want to do that kind of stuff with the pitcher coming up next. I was pretty upset with myself.”
Notes:@ Hamilton’s home run came in his fourth big league at-bat. He is the first Red to homer for his first big league hit since Chris Denorfia, who did it on Sept. 9, 2005, against Pittsburgh’s Oliver Perez. … Cincinnati is 1-9 at Chase Field when the roof is open, as it was on an 81-degree evening Tuesday.