DENVER -- The explosion from the Rockies pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds' bat and the almost-equal pop when the ball rebounded off a seat beyond the left-center wall were impressive and special. But even Reynolds admits homers like his on Thursday night were expected to be commonplace.Reynolds, a reformed high-risk swinger, launched
DENVER -- The explosion from the Rockies pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds' bat and the almost-equal pop when the ball rebounded off a seat beyond the left-center wall were impressive and special. But even Reynolds admits homers like his on Thursday night were expected to be commonplace.
Reynolds, a reformed high-risk swinger, launched the second-longest homer in the Majors this year, according to Statcast™ -- a 484-foot, leadoff shot in the seventh inning against Braves relief pitcher Hunter Cervenka -- in the Rockies' 7-3 victory.
Reynolds' homer had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph. According to Statcast™, the longest homer this season came from the Rangers' Nomar Mazara, a 491-footer off the Angels' Héctor Santiago on May 25.
"You figure something like that would happen, me playing at Coors," Reynolds said. "Right?"
For much of his decade-long career, Reynolds' home runs were loud and strikeouts were almost as loud, and numerous. Until last year, when he hit 13 homers in a part-time role for the Cardinals, he eclipsed 20 homers each year from 2008-14, including 44 for the D-backs in 2009, 32 for the D-backs in 2010 and 37 for the Orioles in 2011.
But when the Rockies signed Reynolds to a one-year, $2.6 million contract during the offseason, they received Reynolds 2.0 -- an opposite-field guy who is hitting .277 (high for him) with 10 homers (low for him) as a regular at first base.
He was his old self on one swing, though.
"It felt like me in 2009," Reynolds said. "I honestly think that's my first pull homer on a fastball this year. I don't know what's going on with my swing or my approach, but I'm trying to be as consistent as I can and as productive as I can so we can win as many games as we can.
"That was a pinch-hit, where I was like … I'm going to take a shot, and it worked out. As an everyday player you can't go up there and try to pull everything. You're not going to be very successful."
Teammate Carlos González -- whose three-run shot off Braves' starter Mike Foltynewicz went 459 feet with a 114.1 mph exit speed for his second-longest and second-hardest homer this season -- welcomed the old Reynolds to the dugout after the homer.
"I told him to stop shooting the ball to right field," Gonzalez said, laughing.
But distance is a secondary matter.
"Long as it's over the fence, it's good," Gonzalez said.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.