As Yogi said "it ain't over 'til it's over", which is why they play 9 innings. In a game that had more ups and downs than a kangaroo in the mating season, the Diamondback prevailed. This in spite of a starting disaster and a grey hair inducing finish against a team that many have picked for the playoffs. The beauty and glory of winning baseball after the jump...
Any first inning where Joe Saunders (no, I'm not using that goofy, dyslexic nickname) gives up 3 runs on 3 walks with a hit and an error tends to squash optimism. And it only got worse for Saunders, as he lasted only 3 innings, leaving down 5-0. Meanwhile, Mike Leake (did you know he went to ASU?) was unimpressive but effective for the first couple of innings. The Diamondbacks did get a run in the 3rd, thanks to Willie Bloomquist getting a base hit, taking second on an error, and stealing third, which is becoming the expected standard of play for Willie. Upton walked, and Drew followed with a ground rule double (which was unfortunate in a way, as Upton would have scored if the ball hadn't bounced over the fence). But, as we've seen far too often, Drew and Upton were left stranded at second and third as CY popped out and Juan Miranda grounded out.
It was about this time that I started checking old Hunter S. Thompson ESPN columns, looking for lines to use in the recap to express my horror and despair without violating site decorum. Down 5-1 at the end of the 4th, and looking at the 'vaunted' bullpen doesn't inspire optimism.
Baseball does that to you. You're ready to give up, and then something good happens. The 5th inning: Willie Bloomquist, infield single. Kelly Johnson, single. Justin Upton, infield single. Stephen Drew, single. 5-2, bases loaded. Chris Young hit a sacrifice fly (well, more of a long pop out, but it worked) to make it 5-3. After a fielders choice, up stepped 'pit ladies favorite Ryan Roberts. And step up he did, hitting a three run homer. 6-5 Diamondbacks!
Of course, the D'Backs seem to have an aversion to prosperity, and Heilman proceeded to give up a 2 run homer to Jonny (where's the "H") Gomes in the 7th. Down 7-6, and back to doom and gloom in the thread. But the Reds did make our half of the 7th interesting, by bringing in Aroldis Chapman. You might have heard that he throws hard? Not so much, today. In fact, three walks (although he picked off Drew) on purely average stuff, but no damage.
In what has to be a surprise to most of us, the 8th inning brought joy to out hearts. Yes, the eighth! Parra, a pinch hit single. A walk to Kelly Johnson, and a Stephen Drew single tied the game. Which was nice, but the icing on the cake was Chris Young not popping up. And not popping up in the form of a three run home run. Diamondbacks lead 10-7, and there was much rejoicing.
Hand the ball to our 'new' closer, J. J. Putz, and relax, right? No. The Diamondbacks seem to have a team policy against closers having easy closing innings. 3 singles, a sacrifice fly, 4 shots of maalox, a couple of tranquilizers, but only one run later, the final out was recorded. A 10-8 win.
An excellent thread, 877 comments as of my departure to write this, including the great bobblehead debate (Bloomquist or RyRo? Text XXXXX to cast your vote!) I assume that whoever front pages this will add fangraphs, roll call, and COTD. Personally, I'll have another beer, thanks.
[click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Wielder of the defibrillator: Stephen Drew, +45.6%
Registered nurses: Roberts, +40.1%, Young +17.0%
Struck off: Joe Saunders, -29.1%
Warned as to their future conduct: Heilman, -16.5%, Blanco -12.6%
hotclaws led all posters today, but it was close - she had two more than NASCARbernet and Rockkstarr12, who tied for second. Also present: Bryan J. Boltik, dima1109, JoeStock, Prosopis, kishi, jinnah, DbacksSkins, 4 Corners Fan, Wailord, pygalgia, emilylovesthedbacks, Clefo, xmet, azshadowwalker, asteroid, Lisalisa8, Jim McLennan, Zavada's Moustache, unnamedDBacksfan, Muu, diamondintherough, Gravity, dbacks25, IHateSouthBend, BattleMoses, TinySarabia and jaydubsped.
Since pygalgia (thanks to him for an engaging recap of a fabulous game) stayed neutral on the topic of Comment of the Thread, let's go with this very popular one from JoeStock, which just edged out Zavada's Moustache's comment on Brandon Allen. .
Saunders and I don’t spell our first name the same. I spell mine J-O-E. He spells it J-Oh Wow, I really suck, don’t I?-E.