Remember me? VanMeter's HR stuns Reds

April 22nd, 2021

When he took a 2-1 fastball on the inside corner for a strike with one out in the ninth inning, Josh VanMeter stepped out of the box and gathered himself.

He had taken a patient approach in the at-bat, wanting to get a feel for the strike zone. Now after seeing what Reds left-hander Amir Garrett's inside fastball looked like, VanMeter had a reference point for where he wanted Garrett's slider, which would break from there over the plate, to start.

Having played with Garrett previously in Cincinnati, VanMeter knew the slider was his best pitch. He knew that's what he was going to have to hit.

"I was really looking for one pitch in one spot," VanMeter said.

The next pitch from Garrett started in the same location that the fastball did and VanMeter saw it as a slider. He swung and smoked the pitch into the right-field bleachers for a game-tying three-run homer.

The D-backs would go on to win the game 8-5 in 10 innings, their second win of the day as they completed Tuesday's suspended game, 5-4, earlier.

For VanMeter, who was traded by the Reds to the D-backs at last year's Trade Deadline, it was a special home run.

"I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a heck of a ride right there," VanMeter said. "Like I kind of blacked out for a moment and felt like I kind of floated around the bases. No, that's a moment that I'll remember for a long, long time."

It certainly will be a 24-hour period that will be remembered by this group of D-backs players for a while.

Tuesday night's game was suspended in the eighth inning after rain was followed by hail which was then followed by snow.

Wednesday's scheduled resumption of that game was delayed slightly by snow flurries and the game-time temperature was 41 degrees by the time of the first pitch of the regularly scheduled game.

"We were on the baseball field for a long time [Tuesday] night and in some really, really tough weather conditions," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think we showed a lot of mental toughness. These guys didn't let some of the some of the outside distractions bother them and went out and won two ballgames today and put us in a pretty good spot for a successful three-game series."

VanMeter's three-run homer was a jolt for an offense that had collected just two hits through the first eight innings. Had Garrett not issued a pair of walks ahead of VanMeter, the game may have ended in the ninth.

The D-backs also came close to losing again in the bottom half of the ninth when, with two outs and Mark Payton at first, Tyler Stephenson hit a blooper to right that a diving Kole Calhoun couldn’t snag. 

Calhoun got to his feet quickly and retrieved the ball while Payton hesitated at second base. He was thrown out at home when Calhoun made a good throw to Kelly, who made a terrific tag to keep the game going.

"Honestly, looking back, that's not a very smart play," Calhoun said. "I should have played that in front of me and played for a single and I kind of got lucky.  I thought I had a chance and it snuck under my glove a little bit and all I was thinking was ‘go get that ball and get it home as quick as I could’ because honestly that probably should have cost us the game. I really got away with one right there.

"But you know, a win is a win. And I'll take it any way we can get it."

Wednesday, the D-backs took two of them and they aren't giving them back.