Record: 21-23. Pace: 77-85. Change on last year: +1
Just when you think the Diamondbacks might be putting together, with an offensive outpouring not seen since April 28th, and a bullpen that had only let up 4 earned runs in the previous 17 games, it almost fell apart.
It was a game that shouldn't have even been close. The Diamondbacks exploded in the seventh inning to take the lead, and seemed to be solidly in control. But then the previously solid bullpen was replaced by a group of pod relievers. A missing persons bulletin has been sent out, but it's suspected the D'backs bullpen was already Raptured.
For 6 1/2 innings, we witnessed a pitchers' duel. Both Ian Kennedy and Brian Duensing were dealing, and it seemed like another power outage. The Twins managed two solo home runs through 7, but their offense was as tepid as advertised outside of the bombs from Michael Cuddyer and Trevor Plouffe. Outside of those two home runs, Minnesota managed only 3 hits through 7 innings.
The Diamondbacks were equally confused by Duensing. He only allowed one hit, a first inning single to Willie Bloomquist, through the first four innings. He finally gave up a run in the bottom of the 5th, though: Xavier Nady surprisingly doubled, and he was brought home on a Kelly Johnson single.
I keep mentioning the 7th inning, because it was truly the terminator of the game. From the bottom of the 7th on, the game became an offensive tipsy-turvy. It was almost enough to make one lose their curry dinner.
Stephen Drew led things off by blasting a solo home run off Duensing to tie the game at 2. He then promptly gave up a double to Chris Young and a single to Miguel Montero. Xavier Nady continued his strange positive production by singling in Young to take the lead. Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire had finally seen enough, and made the call for a lefty. Glen Perkins had no more success, though Kurt Gibson tried his best to gift outs to the opposition. Two straight sacrifices put runners on third and second with two outs. Gardenhire didn't want to be out-moroned, though, so he called his own knucklehead play: an intentional walk for Bloomquist to get to Ryan Roberts.
Now who honestly thinks this is a good idea, ever? Maybe he had some cheat-sheat that gave him some reason to believe Roberts would be a surer out than Bloomquist, but it's more likely he was listening to his gut. Kids, don't do try this at home.
Ryan Roberts came through, and punished Gardenhire for his strange call with a 3 RBI double. Free tacos, and the game seemed to be secure.
The Twins responded with two runs of their own in the 8th, off a Jason Kubel triple given up by Aaron "Low Leverage" Heilman. The D'backs were still 2 runs up, though, and added two more runs in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead again 8-4.
Juan "Happy Homer" Gutierrez was given the ball in the 9th to end the game, but of course that isn't what happened, is it? No, he managed to retire Cuddyer, but then he served up a meatball to Danny Valencia, who deposited it in the left field bleachers for a home run. Delmon Young kept it going for the visitors with an infield single, and Gutierrez was yanked from the game in favor of David Hernandez. It wouldn't get any better. Hernandez looked a little wild, and didn't get a single call in his favor. For his troubles he let in a run off a Drew Butera double, then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks. Did I say back-to-back? I meant back-to-back-to-back walks, the last of which walked in a run to bring the score to 8-7.
Joe Paterson, who somehow managed to get loose in an infinitesimal amount of time, was called to save the day, and the Oregon State Beaver did just that. He cooly struck out Kubel (finally getting a call from the home plate umpire), and then induced a grounder just past first that Kelly Johnson somehow pounced on. Johnson threw the ball to first to complete the put-out, and secure the win.
Raptor: Joe Paterson (46%)
Raptor: Stephen Drew (18.6%)
Raptor: David Hernandez (-42.1%)
Raptor: Willie Bloomquist (-5.1%)
Let us never speak of this game again. Still, it was a win, which is better than the last time the Diamondbacks faced the Twins and were swept in Minnesota. The Senior Circuit has started inter-league play fairly strong by winning 8 of the 15 games (and the Giants/A's game still undecided as of this writing). Tomorrow is another day, though, one where the Diamondbacks will hopefully still get a win, but also show more consistency.
The Gameday Thread was fairly lively, with just over 700 comments. Most of it was Rapture related, and I expect that to only increase for tomorrow's game. I led the motley crew with 141 comments, the only one to pip a century. I was joined by: asteroid, hotclaws, Backin'the'Backs, snakecharmer, emilylovesthedbacks, Zavada's Moustache, Jim McLennan, Muu, Dallas D'back Fan, mrssoco, blue bulldog, Bcawz, 4 Corners Fan, Sprankton, TinySarabia, Azreous, LiamNeeson, venomfan, Turambar, kishi, Jdub220, txzona, JoeCB1991, nateasaurus, marionette, and golfmanatee.
Comment of the day is in reference to Willie Bloomquist, he of the grit and hustle, not running out a ground out. mrssoco speculated he died on the basepath, to which Jim responded:
Tomorrow night is Garden Gnome Night, so if you're in the Phoenix area then you should head down to the park to pick one up. Oh, and I guess watch a baseball game. First pitch is allegedly at 7:10pm Arizona time, but you know how that goes.