CINCINNATI (AP) — With one out in the ninth inning and the Diamondbacks trailing by a run, Josh Rojas worked Reds reliever Tony Santillan to a full count and looked for another fastball.
Santillan — who already had hurt himself with a wild pitch and a throwing error in the inning — gave him what he wanted, serving up a 97 mph four-seamer down and away to Rojas, who hit it past a drawn-in infield to score two runs.
“I went up there with a with the approach to stay on the heater and react to the slider,” Rojas said after the 5-4 win that earned the Diamondbacks a split of the four-game series. “He actually threw me a first-pitch slider, I got a good swing on and fouled it off. Once I did that, I felt pretty comfortable to stay on the heater and try to drive something. I got put in a really good situation.”
The Diamondbacks went into the ninth trailing 3-1, but got help from Santillan’s wild tosses.
Pavin Smith drew a leadoff walk, went to second on a wild pitch by Santillan (0-1) and scored on Alek Thomas’ single. Santillan then threw away a bunt for an error, and a sacrifice set up the two-run single by Rojas, who later scored on a grounder.
The blown lead by the Reds wasted a solid pitching performance by starter Tyler Mahle, who allowed one run and four hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts over six innings. His biggest mistake was a fastball left in the middle of the zone that Smith snuck just inside the right-field foul pole for a homer leading off the Arizona fifth.
Mark Melancon (2-6), the second of three relievers for the Diamondbacks, got the win. Ian Kennedy pitched the ninth for his fourth save, despite allowing Matt Reynolds’ solo homer.
“That’s the beauty of this team,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “They’ve got a great heartbeat. There was never any…