The Chase Field roof opened and the hits started raining down.
After struggling to score runs in their first 11 games of the season, the D-backs’ offense broke out in a big way with a nine-run fourth inning as they beat the Astros, 14-7, on Wednesday night.
Heading into the fourth inning, the D-backs were hitless and had scored just two runs in their previous 26 innings. Meanwhile, the Astros had scored three runs off Robbie Ray.
The roof to Chase Field, as planned earlier in the day, started opening after the completion of the third inning, and the Astros added another run in the top of the fourth to go up 4-0.
It seemed like the D-backs were headed toward another disappointing night.
Everyone in the D-backs’ dugout was yelling for Calhoun to go for home as he neared third base. It was as if the sullenness and tension that had filled it of late suddenly dissipated.
“It obviously lit a fire in the dugout,” Calhoun said. “We were able to smile in the dugout for the first time in a long time. We needed to relax, it felt like everyone was putting a lot of pressure on themselves to be the hero. Baseball doesn’t show up like that. It’s when you’re relaxed and in the flow of the game, that’s when special things happen.”
By the time the inning was over, McCullers was gone, the D-backs had nine runs and nine hits. They sent 14 men to the plate, and three hitters had multiple hits in the inning.
Over the past 10 days, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo and his players would often trudge into the interview room after another disappointing offensive showing and vow that they were just one hit away from everything turning around.
“Inside-the-park homer, you don’t see that very often,” said D-backs outfielder David Peralta, who hit a triple and a homer for four RBIs. “I think that got our offense going. That’s what we needed, man. We needed that kind of game to get everyone going. This is just the beginning of the good stuff that’s going to happen for us. We’re really excited. We’re going to be ready for tomorrow.”
Coming into the game, the D-backs had hit just two homers on the year, far and away the fewest of any team in baseball.
By the end of the night, they had hit four, including Calhoun's, with Nick Ahmed, Peralta and Eduardo Escobar all getting in on the action.
“They’ve got some guys over there that know Lance, and Lance knows them,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Looked like they changed their game plan on him. They got a batting coach over there [Darnell Coles] that’s pretty good, and this team is certainly better than they were hitting when we came in here. I was hoping we got out of here before they woke up.”
The D-backs still have work to do. Even with the win, their record is at 4-8 for last place in the National League West. For D-backs, Wednesday night’s game needs to be a springboard rather than a high point.
“Hopefully this is the start of the momentum that we needed,” Calhoun said.