Another day, another game where Arizona needed to mount a late comeback, and ended up in another contest decided by a single run. However, this time, the Diamondbacks came out on the winning end: four runs in the eighth proved sufficient to overturn the Giants three-run lead. As a result, we picked up our first win of the 2011 Cactus League campaign, in front of a crowd of 10,342 at Talking Stick - note, that's 3,500 more than watched the Cubs playing over at HohoKam. Mind you, given the temperature at game time was a chilly 50 degrees, I'm glad we went yesterday and stayed at home for this one...
Slightly frost-bitten and unseasonable details of our opening victory, after the ice-cube shaped jump.
The starters traded zeroes and singles in the first inning: Ian Kennedy was the opening man to take the mound for Arizona, while Matt Cain filled the same role for San Francisco. The visitors drew first blood, scoring two runs in the second, on a pair of RBI singles off Duke, following a lead-off double and a walk. We threatened briefly in our half, two-out singles from Russell Branyan and Melvin Mora, but Gerardo Parra fouled out to end the threat, and close the book on both starters' afternoons.
Daniel Hudson was the next on the mound - word is that Hudson is looking to work on his slider this spring, which would be a great addition to an already impressive arsenal. Nick Piecoro says Daniel "can have trouble staying consistent with the pitch, in part because his lower arm angle makes it difficult for his hand to remain on top of the pitch at its release point," which seems exactly like the sort of thing spring training is for. No word on what he threw today, but he gave up a home-run shot to Pablo the Buffet Slayer, leading off the fourth, though given the wind in the box-score is given as "20 mph, out to CF", it might have been an infield pop-up.
Unlike the first couple of games, our regular relievers turned in a solid performance this afternoon. They allowed a total of two hits and a walk over their five innings of work, striking out three - nice to see the free passes kept in check, with only two all told, countered by five K's. Josh Collmenter stood out, in part thanks to the big W beside his name, after allowing a single in two innings, and Kevin Mulvey picked up the save by throwing a perfect ninth. Sam Demel and Joe Paterson were the others to get into the game.
It was the eighth inning which turned the game around for the Diamondbacks, plundering five hits and a walk off a pair of Giants relievers. Konrad Schmidt broke up the shutout with a lead-off home-run, and one out later, Ryan Roberts worked a walk. Yesterday's hero, Paul Goldschmidt, came off the bench and delivered a key double down the left-field line, becoming the tying run in scoring position, and Juan Miranda dumped a single into right, tying the score at three. He came around to score, following a pair of singles from A.J. Pollock and Tony Abreu, scoring what proved to be the winning run for Arizona.
Overall, Willie Bloomquist did well in the lead-off spot, getting a hit and a walk, a line also achieved by Ryan Roberts and Melvin Mora. Russell Branyan got the start at first-base, and went 2-for-2, before being replaced by Miranda. Nice to get the first victory under our belt, though I note we still seem to having problems against the opposition's front-line pitchers. Thus far, eleven of the 17 runs scored by the Diamondbacks have come in the eighth and ninth inning, off pitchers whose jersey numbers appear to have been handed out by Social Security. Only three games, but something to keep an eye on.
Tomorrow, it's back against the Rockies, whom we also play on Tuesday: hang on, wasn't the point of moving up from Tucson, so that we wouldn't have to play them every day? Anyway, I'm particularly looking forward to seeing our starting pitching tomorrow, as we have Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright and Jarrod Parker all scheduled to take the mound. All that trio seem to have something to show.
Finally, I stumbled across what has to be the line of the day, from Cubs' pitcher Justin Berg - marvel at this thing of spring beauty against the A's:
Berg: 0.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 7 R, 7 ER, 189.00 ERA
Maybe Micah's outing yesterday wasn't so bad, after all...