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Riley Smith holds steady in 1st career start with Arizona Diamondbacks

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 10: Riley Smith #46 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field on April 10, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Riley Smith’s first career start had its ups and downs, but the right-hander ultimately came out on top.

The starter, who stepped into the rotation after Caleb Smith was moved to the bullpen, allowed two runs, eight hits and one walk over 6.0 innings while striking out two.

“Riley giving us six really solid innings and kinda setting the tone,” manager Torey Lovullo told reporters via Zoom. “Gave up some early runs but still continued to make pitches and keep us in the ballgame and allow us to play a little bit of catch-up.”

After a 12-pitch first, Smith began to stumble in the second inning. The righty walked Eugenio Swarez, followed by a double and two singles that gave the Reds the lead. Smith eventually got out of the inning totaling 21 pitches after facing two more batters.

Smith settled back in at the top of the third, throwing seven pitches to retire the side, and held steady allowing just five hits through the next three innings.

The 26-year-old took the mound with a large group family members from Texas watching from the stands — a huge moment he called exciting and surely one he will never forget.

“I always dreamed of pitching in the big leagues, but part of that dream was for my family to be there when I pitched in the big leagues,” Smith said via Zoom. “For them to be able to come, not only was it a dream for them but it was dream for me.

“It got emotional when I finished the game because you’re locked in for however long you’re in the game. Then you realize the stress is over, I can relax and take all this in. For them to be able to there and enjoy it with me is awesome.”

Smith made his MLB debut last season while working out of the bullpen. He made six appearances and posted a 1.47 ERA.

He allowed three earned runs and 15 hits in 18.1 frames last year and struck out 18 batters while walking five.

The D-backs beat the Reds, 8-3.


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