PHOENIX -- Hitting a baseball is said to be the toughest task in sports, and the Diamondbacks' Cody Ransom has taken the degree of difficulty to a new level. Ransom made his first start of the season Sunday while in the process of attempting to pass a kidney stone.
It did not seem to affect him. Ransom doubled with two outs to pass the baton in what became a five-run second inning as Ian Kennedy and the Diamondbacks broke a five-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over the red-hot Braves on Sunday.
Ransom also made a strong defensive play on Martin Prados in-between grounder to third base with one out in the fifth inning, backing up to get a good hop and quickly throwing to second base to force speedy Michael Bourn and limit the damage in the inning to one run.
Adrenaline is a good thing, it really is, said Ransom, who was purchased from Class AAA Reno when starting center fielder Chris Young was placed on the disabled list Wednesday. Things go away. I havent been having much pain lately.
Ransom was hospitalized last Sunday in Sacramento, where Reno was playing, to pass one kidney stone, but he has been dealing with another since. The two lemons in his locker stall Sunday morning were to help flavor the water he has been constantly drinking to stay hydrated. He pitched a half-gallon bottle into the clubhouse trash bin before leaving for the night Sunday.
You just come and play, Ransom said. "Im not worried about it. If it gets worse, it gets worse. It is what it is. You deal with life. Its part of it. You deal with it and you hope it goes better. It comes and goes.
Hopefully it goes more than it comes.
Ransom, 36, has only been with the D-backs for a few days but, as when he arrived late here last July, it did take him long to make his presence felt.
In game also started by Kennedy, Ransom helped the D-backs break a three-game losing streak with a game-deciding two-run home run off eventual NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on Aug. 7 at Chase Field. The D-backs won seven of their next eight games to move into first place in the NL West, and they never relinquished that spot.
The losing streak that ended Sunday dropped the D-backs below .500 for the first time since the first game of a doubleheader in Colorado last May 24, but Ransom said the clubhouse atmosphere reminds him of what he saw in his five weeks here last year.
I think that is how this team is made up, especially with the guys that are out right now, said Ransom, alluding to the loss of Young, Geoff Blum and Daniel Hudson and the recent return of Justin Upton.
You go out and you play the game, and I think everybody on this team believes they can play and contribute. Since Ive been here, I havent seen any lack of confidence. Everybody knows it is going to turn around, knows we are who we are and (that) were going to get better. You have to do your work and play the game the right way.
Kennedy, meanwhile, won his 10th straight decision over his last 14 starts at Chase Field since a 5-2 loss to the Marlins on May 31, 2011.
I dont look back to last year, Kennedy said. "I try to use the same approach I have been the last year and a half."
In addition to moving to 3-0 after giving up three runs in seven innings, Kennedy had one of the biggest at-bats of the game in the second inning. After Jason Kubel stretched his hitting streak to six games with a two-out single and Ransom followed with a double into the left-field corner, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to walk John McDonald after the count reached 2-0, loading the bases for Kennedy.
Kennedy bluffed a drag bunt on the first pitch by Randall Delgado but pulled his bat back when he saw the pitch was off the plate, and Degaldo threw three more balls to force in a run and tie the score at 1-1. Gerardo Parra hit a grand slam two pitches later.
My (batting) numbers doesnt support a four-pitch walk, but it is nice, Kennedy said. "I know as a pitcher, when you walk the pitcher, it is a little bit frustrating. Parra capitalized on it."
Parra laid off a breaking ball on the first pitch before knocking a fastball into the pool area for his first career grand slam and a 5-1 lead.
I was just looking for a pitch in the zone, Parra said. "I just want to put the ball in play and try not think too much, just try to hit it through the middle."
Added D-backs manager Kirk GIbson: Everybodys been grinding. You hope this helps them relax."
Ransom will keep plugging away.
Thats what Im here for, fill in whenever they need me and do whatever they ask. Keep it going, he said.
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