(Sports Network) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have fielded one of the National League's most powerful lineups this season, but one of their top sluggers will be unavailable when the team resumes a four-game series with the Washington Nationals tonight at Chase Field.
Arizona avenged a 3-1 loss to the Nationals in Monday's opener of this set by coming through with a 6-1 victory last night, but received a scary moment during the sixth inning when third baseman Mark Reynolds was struck in the head by a pitch from Washington reliever Colin Balester.
Reynolds, whose three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning snapped a 1-1 tie, was able to walk off under his own power afterward and passed a neurological exam afterward. Still, the Diamondbacks slugger will almost certainly sit out at least one game as a precaution.
"I tried to get out of the way and they got me," said Reynolds afterward. "My first instinct was to get up and run to first base, but the trainers made me stay down and made sure I was alright. I told them I was good to stay in the game. I just got lucky."
Stephen Drew added a solo homer for Arizona and Kelly Johnson went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the win, the third in the team's last four contests.
The Diamondbacks also received a strong showing from newcomer Joe Saunders in the starting pitcher's Chase Field debut. The left-hander, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Dan Haren trade on July 25, went the distance on a five-hitter and struck out five while walking two.
Washington's only run off Saunders came via a solo homer by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the first inning.
Nationals starter Scott Olsen (3-3) took the loss after being reached for five runs on seven hits -- including the two homers -- over the first 5 2/3 innings.
"I felt when I made good pitches [the Diamondbacks] hit them, when I made bad pitches they hit them," Olsen said about his outing. "They were just all over everything. Saunders pitched a hell of a game [Wednesday] and you just have to tip your cap to him."
Ian Kennedy will attempt to follow up Saunders' gem and continue his own recent success when the offseason pickup takes the mound tonight for his first career encounter with the Nationals. The former New York Yankees prospect is 3-1 over his last four starts, although he needed some help from the Arizona offense to come up with his latest win.
Kennedy gave up just three hits in a six-inning stint against the New York Mets last Friday, but two were homers by David Wright that produced a total of five runs. The right-hander also walked four batters on the night, but benefited from a five-run sixth inning that led to a 9-6 Arizona victory.
The 25-year-old has gone 6-8 with a 4.26 earned run average in 21 starts thus far in his first season with the Diamondbacks, and has produced a solid 3.53 ERA in 10 appearances at hitter-friendly Chase Field.
Craig Stammen gets the call for Washington tonight and will be out to duplicate one of his best performances of the season. The right-hander limited Philadelphia to one run and five hits and struck out five over 6 1/3 sharp innings this past Friday at Nationals Park, helping spoil the anticipated Phillies debut of Roy Oswalt.
Stammen has just three wins and a 5.24 ERA in 18 starts for the year, but is 1-1 with a 2.60 ERA over his last three assignments. He's had his troubles on the road, though, as a 1-3 record and 6.07 season ERA will attest.
This will be Stammen's first-ever start against the Diamondbacks.
Monday's tilt marked the first meeting between the Diamondbacks and Nationals this season. Washington won five of the six games between the clubs in 2009.