DENVER -- The T-shirt handed out at Coors Field Tuesday night was a keeper. Purple with white graphics, depicting the Rockies' Mark Reynolds driving a baseball a long way, a glove for effect. Reynolds' Round-trip Travel.Reynolds connected a warm memory on his T-shirt night by swatting two home runs and
DENVER -- The T-shirt handed out at Coors Field Tuesday night was a keeper. Purple with white graphics, depicting the Rockies' Mark Reynolds driving a baseball a long way, a glove for effect. Reynolds' Round-trip Travel.
Reynolds connected a warm memory on his T-shirt night by swatting two home runs and tied a career high with five RBIs in the Rockies' 11-3 victory over the Indians. But the night started with two strikeouts, and the bitter irony popped into his head when he stepped in against Zach McAllister in the fifth.
"I was thinking in my head, 'Man, it's my T-shirt night. I can't punch out three times,'" said Reynolds, who took McAllister's full-count, 98.1-mph fastball the opposite way into the right-field porch for a three-run homer and an 8-1 Rockies lead.
Reynolds made T-shirt night even more memorable by swatting a Nicholas Goody breaking ball into the left-center bleachers -- a section that happened to be dedicated to Reynolds. He finished the night with 51 RBIs, which makes him the Major League leader and adds fuel to his candidacy as a write-in on the Esurance All-Star Ballot.
Before the first homer, Reynolds struck out 10 of his previous 17 at-bats. But Reynolds, who leads the Rockies with 16 home runs and is hitting .299 with a .368 on-base percentage, was not descending into his high-strikeout nature from years past.
"It kind of happened in San Diego that I was sitting on certain pitches, and it would be the opposite pitch and I had already committed my swing," Reynolds said. "That's where you get into funks. Instead of seeing the ball and letting it travel, you start guessing.
"I just tried to calm down tonight."
Reynolds' swing disturbed the calm of Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed Reynolds with the Indians in 2013. The last time Reynolds drove in five runs was April 13 of that season against the White Sox.
"When he's hitting the ball like he did to right field, he gets more dangerous," Francona said. "That means he's covering. And you saw what he did with a breaking ball. I mean, for two months or whatever here, we saw that guy. What a lift he's given them. Shoot, he's hitting in the middle of the order and he's hitting home runs and driving in runs and making plays at first."
Reynolds also made a diving play at first base to steal a hit from Jason Kipnis to start the game -- "I was over there talking to the umpire, trying to get into the game, then I got a bullet," he said -- and played well offensively and defensively throughout.
"He continues to help us win games, no matter the situation," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.