Single-game performance of the year goes, not surprisingly, to Edwin Jackson's no-hitter, which got 75% of all the votes cast. Some consideration was given by the academy as to whether this also merited a nomination for Game of the Year, but it was decided that it would have to settle for an honorable mention.
At least, when you lose a lot more often than you win, it becomes a bit easier to pick out deserving nominees, as each victory becomes a precious jewel, to be savored and appreciated. That's the good thing about baseball: in a 162-game season, you have to be really bad not to taste victory sixty times in a year [coughPiratescough], so that gives even the most-"tortured" fan [and not in the ludicrous Giants sense of the word], plenty of moments to enjoy. After the jump, you'll find the five honorable mentions, and then the five actual nominees. Links to each will open up our recap of the game, in a new window.
- April 11, vs. Pirates - 13 runs in one inning
- April 14, vs. Dodgers - Beating Russ Ortiz
- June 13, vs. Cardinals - Young walks 'em off
- June 25, vs. Rays - Jackson's no-hitter
- July 21, vs. Mets - Marathon bullpen shutout
- August 1, vs. Mets - The biggest blowout
And the nominees are...
April 28, vs. Rockies - Mr. Hinch's Wild Ride
This would be why Azreous has a rep for "interesting recaps". They say a picture is worth a thousand words. and any retelling of this is superfluous, when you can just look at the Fangraph:
We had a 91.2% WP at the end of the first, in which we scored six. That collapsed to 6% after the Rockies responded with eleven unanswered runs by the last of the fourth. But we eventually won our biggest comeback on Kelly Johnson's 10th-inning homer, after failing in the ninth, despite loading the bases with one out.
May 20, vs. Giants - Cy Who?
An unexpected win, facing two-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, who was 2-0 up in the fifth inning. However, Stephen Drew, Justin Upton and Reynolds had other ideas, driving in five in the fifth. But the Giants immediately responded with their own five-run frame, to go back ahead 7-5 after six - only for Arizona to tie it in the seventh and score the winning run on a wild-pitch in the eighth. As I wrote at the time, it "could well be the most entertaining game of the year - though my blood-pressure may beg to differ."
June 21, vs. Yankees - World Series Chumps
This is why baseball is such a beautiful game. Coming in, the reigning champions had the best record in baseball; the Diamondbacks were 26th of 30. But on this night, we kicked their asses. Arizona clubbed three home-runs off A.J. Burnett in a five-run first, that reduced all the visitors' fans to an embarrassed silence. The MFYankees never got any closer than four the rest of the way, with Rodrigo Lopez perplexing them for eight wonderful innings. Sure, it would be the only time we'd taste victory in the series. But on that evening, beating up on them in front of a packed Chase Field, it felt like 2001 all over again.
August 7, vs. Padres - SnakePitFest 3.2
Chase Field was rocking for SPF3.2, which fortuitously landed on the occasion of the first time an Arizona player had his number retired. After Gonzo had been so honored, battle was joined against San Diego: We cantered out to a 5-0 lead after five innings, with Rodrigo Lopez again pitching like an ace. But he faltered in the sixth and Aaron Heilman allowed two homers in the top of the ninth, allowing the Padres to tie it... Briefly... For Chris Young swatted the other Diamondbacks walk-off homer of 2010, sending the bobble-head bearing crowd home happy. Little did we know then, the victory proved crucial in stopping the Padres from going to the playoffs.
August 11, vs. Brewers - Your Arizona Diamondback-to-back-to-back-to-backs
By far the rarest positive accomplishment of the 2011 season was in the fourth inning, when Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew clubbed consecutive homers off Dave Bush in Milwaukee. How rare is it? There have been 291 cycles; 269 no-hitters; 20 perfect games; but Arizona's was only the seventh time a team had hit four consecutive homers. Appropriate, given how we lived by the long-ball and died by the K this year. [S'funny how, not long ago, the nattering nabobs were bleating we needed sluggers: now, having finished third in the NL, with the most HR since 2005... We strike out too much. Sheesh. Can't please some people.]