The pregame storylines were quickly turned upside down, as Arizona's four-run first-inning barrage boosted the D-backs to a much needed 5-3 win over the National League Central-leading Reds at Great American Ball Park.
"It was a good, clean ballgame for us," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "It feels good to win again."
Arizona came out of the gates swinging, lining three consecutive singles off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo, loading the bases to start the game.
Two pitches later, Miguel Montero sent a bases-clearing double down the left-field line to give the visiting D-backs an early 3-0 advantage with no outs in the first.
"We talked about a good approach off Arroyo today and executed well," Gibson said. "He stayed up the middle, threw us a lot of offspeed pitches early, and we got the four runs early."
Justin Upton, who was moved to the No. 5 position for Monday's game after going hitless in 10 at-bats in Chicago, plated Montero one batter later to increase the lead.
"We haven't had [a big inning] in a while. It's fun to score runs," said a smiling Aaron Hill. "Hopefully, we'll do some more of it. Obviously, it's great for a starting pitcher to go out with four runs on the board early."
Montero's big day at the plate continued in the third, when he sent solo home run just over the wall in right field to line up the eventual 5-3 final score.
Despite the frustrating start to the second half of the season, Hill said the D-backs were not overly concerned with the offensive struggles and took a rather simple approach to Monday night's game.
"If you see something up, just put a good swing on it," Hill said. "We left Chicago not how we wanted to end it, but we came in, forget what happened and just go out and see the ball up and see what happens. We try not to look into it too much and just keep going."
D-backs starter Wade Miley faced some early inning struggles of his own, but he made the flurry stand.
Arizona watched its lead slowly diminish as Cincinnati pulled within one in the following frame, beginning with back-to-back singles from Chris Heisey and Ryan Hanigan.
Two batters later, leadoff man Drew Stubbs drove in both runners to make the score 4-3 after two innings.
Miley said the staff pulled him aside after the second inning to tweak the southpaw's approach, which allowed him to find his groove.
"[Gibson] came over to the dugout and just said, 'Let's challenge these guys and go right after them. Pick it up a little bit, pick up the pace,'" Miley said. "I was working slow and frustrated. I wasn't locating the fastball, but after we had a little talk, I kind of settled in a little bit."
Miley certainly settled in, retiring 11 hitters in a row at one point.
He eventually gave up two singles in the sixth and was visibly frustrated when he was pulled after 5 2/3 innings.
"I wasn't expecting it," said Miley, who had thrown 97 pitches before being replaced by Brad Ziegler. "I was kind of frustrated, but Ziegler came in and made some good pitches. He went back out and did his job and the bullpen took over from there."
After their two-run second inning, the Reds managed to put only one runner into scoring position the rest of the night.
Arizona used three relievers to quiet the Reds' bats Monday, with closer J.J. Putz earning his 17th save of the season.