August 29, 2006

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  • Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Mark Reynolds has recorded four two-homer games in the Minor Leagues since being chosen in the 16th round out of the University of Virginia in the 2004 draft, but none have had the impact that his performance on Tuesday did.

    Reynolds drove in four runs with two homers to lead Team USA to a 5-2 victory over Puerto Rico in pool play competition at the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Jose, Cuba. Team USA remained unbeaten (4-0) and clinched the top seed in its bracket heading into its final pool play game on Wednesday.

    The 23-year-old Reynolds broke a scoreless tie in the third with an opposite field shot that barely cleared the right-field foul pole, causing Puerto Rico's manager, Jose Carradero, and his entire coaching staff to argue the call. Umpires did not overturn the call and Team USA maintained its 1-0 advantange.

    With the scored tied at 2-2, Reynolds stepped to the plate with Kurt Suzuki and Skip Schumaker, who had doubled and singled, respectively, on base. He promptly sent a 3-1 pitch deep to left but it bended into foul territory. Reynolds corrected himself on the next pitch by launching a three-run home run to the opposite field and giving Team USA a 5-2 lead it would not relinquish.

    In the fourth inning, Chad Allen singled and was then picked off first just three pitches before Billy Butler hit his second homer of the competition. Puerto Rico came right back in the bottom half and tied the game on the strength of a bases-loaded double by shortstop Raul Nieves off Team USA starter Greg Smith.

    The U.S. bullpen corps of Nic Ungs, Jeff Ridgway and Lee Gronkiewicz held Puerto Rico scoreless on two hits over four innings in relief of Smith. Henry Owens closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the tournament.

    New York Mets Minor Leaguer Willie Collazo was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs and nine hits in eight innings of work.

    Team USA is scheduled to play Venezuela at 2 PM on Wednesday at Nelson Fernandez Stadium.

    NOTES: The game was delayed for 30 minutes after the fifth inning due to heavy rains. ... Nelson Fernandez Stadium did not have a tarp. ... Round two of the tournament is scheduled to begin on Friday. ... Team USA pitchers have recorded 32 strikeouts in four games. ... Reynolds has three home runs in the last two games. ... Reynolds leads the team in homers with three and is behind Allen for the top spot in RBIs with six. ... Butler is batting .385 with two homers, three runs and four RBIs. ... Since not homering in the opener against Canada, Team USA batters have hit eight in the past three games. ... Collazo had not allowed three homers in a game in 23 Minor Leagues starts this year and allowed two only twice.