The Washington Post

Sean Burroughs homers right on time for the Diamondbacks

Sean Burroughs, not gone or forgotten at age 30, provided the Arizona Diamondbacks with one of their most important home runs of the season Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

Sean Burroughs watches his first homer since April 30, 2005 leave the ballpark. The Diamondbacks gained a game on the Giants on Tuesday night to take a two-game lead in the NL West. (Luis Alvarez/AP)

Ian Kennedy earned his 16th win by outdueling Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed the two-run shot to Burroughs one pitch after walking Chris Young and moments after a meeting on the mound from pitching coach Steve McCatty.

“I just had a lot of time to reflect a little bit, too — going in and seeing someone three or four times,” Burroughs said of his seventh-inning at-bat. “It seemed like he was throwing a lot of fastballs.

“With the mound conference, I didn’t know what was going on there. I talked to Don Baylor, our hitting coach, a little bit before that at-bat and he said basically to look dead-red fastball, try to get out in front and stay up the middle. It’s one of those things where I wasn’t trying to hit a home run, but that’s what happened.”

The Diamondbacks, who continue their four-game series in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday nights, are glad it did. Kennedy, for one, wasn’t stunned.

“You start thinking to yourself that you know he’s going to run into one,” Kennedy said. “He normally hits balls to left field, but he pulled that one tonight. It was nice to see him hit one. He’s brought a lot of energy to our team.”

In Burroughs’s career, he has just 12 home runs in 1,625 at-bats. The San Diego Padres drafted the third baseman ninth overall in 1998, but he has never hit for much power in the big leagues.

Burroughs can appreciate simply being in the majors after battling substance abuse problems and missing three full seasons of baseball at any level. He told in June — the month after his first call-up from Class AAA Reno — that at one point he was wandering the streets of Las Vegas and eating cheeseburgers out of trash cans.

Burroughs says he’s clean now. Arizona gave him a chance, and he rewarded them Tuesday night. Overall, he’s hitting .261 in 88 at-bats. The Diamondbacks have been one of the game’s biggest surprises after losing 97 games in 2010..

“I’m just a link in the chain,” Burroughs said. “It’s great to contribute when I get an opportunity.”


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