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Ahmed flirts with cycle on four-hit night

D-backs shortstop's work on fundamentals pays off

PHOENIX -- With the ball bounding down the left-field line, D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed rounded first and calculated the odds of reaching third safely, before coming to the conclusion that he had no chance.

"It wasn't close enough for me to even try," Ahmed said.

So he pulled up at second with his fourth hit of Friday night's 12-4 win and his second double, which left him a triple shy of hitting for his first career cycle. He went 4-for-4 with three RBIs.

Missing out on the cycle did not bother Ahmed, probably because there were too many good feelings in the home clubhouse after the victory.

"It was just a fun night for all of us," Ahmed said.

The D-backs' offense was rolling right from the start putting up four runs in the first and another six in the second to chase Dodgers starter Alex Wood from the game before he had a chance to get settled.

"I think the biggest thing was getting that lead early in the first inning," said first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. "Put some pressure on those guys. Any time you can play with the lead it's good."

The D-backs got contributions up and down the lineup with Goldschmidt collecting a three-run homer, Ender Inciarte chipping in three hits, Welington Castillo with a three-run homer in the first, Yasmany Tomas had a pair of RBIs and, of course, there was Ahmed.

When the team was in Chicago recently to take on the Cubs, D-backs manager Chip Hale said that Ahmed, who was struggling against right-handers, might not play as much down the stretch against them. But Ahmed got the start against the left-handed Wood.

"Tonight was a great night and he's been working so hard on certain fundamentals -- staying on top and getting his foot down early and it's really paying off," Hale said. "He's getting some more confidence against the right-handers and the left-handers both, so it's really good to see."

Ahmed was aware that he was a triple away from the cycle when he stepped into the box in the sixth, but said it did not change the way he approached the at-bat.

"I don't think you ever really try to hit a triple," he said. "You've got to have a little bit of luck to that, get a favorable bounce in some instances. I was just trying to hit the ball hard again and have another good at-bat."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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