Reynolds spearheads offense in series win

Veteran hit .467 with two homers as Rockies won three of four games

Reynolds spearheads offense in series win

MILWAUKEE -- Spring Training was long -- some players say too long -- because of the World Baseball Classic. But the extra time helped Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds.

Signed to a Minor League contract during the offseason, Reynolds knew he'd receive some playing time because of teammates participating in the Classic. He ended up with more when first baseman Ian Desmond suffered a fractured left hand March 12.

Sharp after 55 Cactus League at-bats, Reynolds provided much of the offense as the Rockies took three of four from the Brewers in the season-opening series at Miller Park. Reynolds homered in the third inning of Thursday's 2-1 victory, and went 7-for-15 with two homers, six RBIs and two walks.

"I wasn't expecting to come in and start, obviously," said Reynolds, whose homer off Chase Anderson led off the third. "Unfortunately, Desmond got hurt. When that happened, it got me a lot of ABs later in the spring. Those consistent at-bats, knowing I was going to be starting. It really helped my confidence.

"My first at-bat was a homer. That helped out a lot, too."

It was a rough series for the top of the batting order. Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez went a combined 5-for-47. Cleanup man Nolan Arenado was 5-for-14 but struggled -- although Thursday's ninth-inning, game-winning homer off Neftali Feliz was a positive move foward.

So Reynolds -- along with Gerardo Parra, who was 6-for-15 -- was important for the Rockies' success.

"For Mark to give us a little bit of a jump-start was great," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We couldn't follow up."

Reynolds' diving catch

Reynolds also helped defensively Thursday. After Kirk Nieuwenhuis tied the game at 1 with a homer off Adam Ottavino in the seventh, Reynolds dove to his right to spear Jett Bandy's liner.

"When you're younger, you're all about the flash, whatever," said Reynolds, 33. "Being in the big leagues, I'm to the point where I want to win games. Grinding things out and getting back to the playoffs, there's nothing like it. I think we've got the squad to do it."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.