PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona manager Torey Lovullo has often said that Tim Locastro is the fastest man in the majors. You don’t have to take his word for it: The video game MLB The Show agrees.
“He’s got a 99 rating,” Lovullo said, grinning.
Locastro showed off that speed Saturday night with four hits and a stolen base that broke a big league record, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks cool off the Cincinnati Reds 8-3.
Locastro’s theft of second in the sixth inning was the 28th straight stolen base to start his career without getting caught. That broke the mark set by Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who stole 27 in a row from 1979-81. Records have been kept since 1951. The Baseball Hall of Fame requested Locastro’s cleats, which he had specially painted for the occasion.
Locastro grew up in upstate New York, close to the Hall of Fame’s location in Cooperstown.
“Having my cleats there, it’s unfathomable,” Locastro said.
Riley Smith (1-0) threw six impressive innings in his first major league start, giving up just two runs on eight hits against a Reds team that had won six in a row. The 26-year-old right-hander took the rotation spot of lefty Caleb Smith, who was moved to the bullpen after struggling during his first outing.
Riley Smith navigated Cincinnati’s hot lineup with relative ease. His only trouble came in the second when the first four batters reached base on a walk, double and two singles, including run-scoring hits by Nick Senzel and Jonathan India.
Smith was able to limit the damage by retiring Tucker Barnhart and pitcher Jeff Hoffman for the final two outs. He struck out two and walked one.
“He was commanding the baseball on both sides of the plate,” Lovullo said. “Trusting his fastball, and there were some quality changeups that got him back into the count.”
The Diamondbacks — who came in hitting just .205 through eight games — broke the game open with a five-run fifth. Three runs scored on Stephen Vogt’s two-out single. Two scored easily and then Eduardo Escobar was able to come around all the way from first when Senzel slipped in center field while trying to pick up the ball.
Escobar added his third homer of the season on a solo shot in the seventh, clearing the 413-foot sign in center. He’s homered in three straight games for the second time in his career. Asdrubal Cabrera hit his second homer of the year.
Locastro was a catalyst all night in the leadoff spot with four singles, two runs scored and a stolen base. His playing time in center field has increased after Ketel Marte recently went on the injured list with a strained hamstring.
“He’s not just fast,” Lovullo said. “He’s a good baseball player who’s learned how to hit.”
Hoffman (1-1) took the loss, giving up three runs over 4 1/3 innings. Eugenio Suárez hit his second homer of the season, a solo shot in the eighth.
The Reds lost, but they kept hitting. Cincinnati entered batting a big league-best .305 and pounded out 12 hits.
“The idea is just to keep hitting the ball hard,” manager David Bell. “If we continue to do that, good things will happen.”
Locastro got some good base-stealing advice early in his professional career. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013 and his first baserunning coach that year was none other than Raines.
Reds: OF Jesse Winker didn’t start, one day after leaving the game with calf cramps.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was back in the lineup after missing the season’s first eight games. The two-time Gold Glove winner was dealing with knee soreness during spring training. … Lovullo said he hasn’t decided who Tuesday’s starting pitcher will be against the Oakland A’s. He acknowledged one possibility is RHP Zac Gallen, who has been on the injured list with a hairline fracture in his right forearm.
The Diamondbacks send RHP Luke Weaver (0-0, 4.76 ERA) to the mound against Cincinnati RHP José De Leon (0-0, 3.60).
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