Mark Reynolds came to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning tonight, but he wasn’t thinking about trying to hit a grand slam.
“No, I wasn’t,” he said. “That would be the best result possible, but I was trying to get a pitch to hit, trying to barrel the ball. The home run was a bonus. I was just trying to hit a hard ground ball up the middle or shoot a gap, just tie the game. It’s a bonus that the ball went out.”
It did and, with one swing, Reynolds produced his first career grand slam and turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead. The Orioles won by that score over Toronto to even the weekend series.
Reynolds was reminded by a reporter that entering that at-bat he was 6-for-52 in his career with the bases loaded with 26 strikeouts.
“That’s pretty good,” he joked. “I don’t know what it is, I get too jumpy maybe and swing at some bad pitches. I just forget that the pressure is on the pitcher and tonight he was pounding me in all night. He left one middle in and I was able to get the barrel it out.
“It wasn’t relief. I was more happy for getting (Jake) Arrieta off the hook (for a loss) and us getting the lead. Our bullpen did a great job the rest of the way,” Reynolds, who now has eight homers and 28 RBIs, said.
On the defensive end, Reynolds was also involved in one of the game’s biggest plays. With the bases loaded and none out in the Toronto third he started a 5-2-3 double play that helped get Arrieta out of the inning without a run scoring.
“I think that was the turning point of the game,” Reynolds said. “Jake was struggling and maybe close to coming out there. He was able to bear down and make a big pitch. He kept going and pitched six innings for us.”
But the postgame interview was mostly about getting that first slam after posting a career .115 average with the bases loaded.
“I don’t even think about not having a grand slam. I just go out and do the best I can every day. It’s just a bonus,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds was asked whether the slam can get his bat going.
“We’ll see,” he said.