Record: 24-24. Pace: 81-81. Change on last year: +4.
For the second half of a doubleheader, all we were hoping for was respectability. There's no way to spin a 12-4 drubbing; the Diamondbacks got straight knocked in the first game. Worse still, Kirk Gibson elected to split up his A-Team between the two games, so Justin Upton played in one, and Stephen Drew the other.
The Diamondbacks responded, though, and refused to lie down to the purple barbarians to the north. And they were led by an unlikely hero: Joe Saunders.
Saunders was sublime tonight. He went 8 innings, his first time this season, struck out 4, and only gave up 2 runs and a walk. His pitch count at the end of the night was 100, so he never really needed to work hard.
That's not completely true. His biggest play of the game came in the 3rd inning when he threw a wild pitch, then covered home plate to tag out Dexter Fowler. The two players collided but somehow Saunders held on to the ball, which caused Rockies' Jim Tracy to run out and get tossed. There was some minor concern that Saunders had hurt himself on the play, though, when he rolled over Fowler and back on his head. His next 5 innings were a testament that he was more than fine.
The Diamondbacks backed up their pitcher early. Kelly Johnson led off the scoring with a first inning solo homer that went practically to Boulder. Outside of one mistake from both pitchers, the first two innings it was all pitching, though, with both Saunders and Jhoulys Chacin inducing groundout after groundout. Jason Giambi tied things up in the second with a solo shot of his own to knot the score at 1 all.
After Saunder's brave covering of home plate, the Diamondbacks went back to work in the 4th. Johnson took a walk to lead things off, then was moved over to second with a Chris Young single. Stephen Drew kept things moving with a flyout that moved Johnson to third, which set Xavier Nady to hit into a fielder's choice that should have been a double play. Instead, Troy Tulowitzki rushed his throw a bit and couldn't complete the double play and Nady was safe, as well as Johnson at home. Arizona had the lead again, and they wouldn't look back for the rest of the night.
The D'backs extended their lead in the 6th, again starting with a leadoff walk. This time it was Ryan Roberts who drew the free base, and he scored on a Johnson double. Johnson was then brought home on a Drew double, who also scored on a Miggy double. The left-handed hitters for the Diamondbacks feasted that inning, and put the team up 5-1.
The Rockies would claw a little closer off a Ty Wigginton 7th inning solo home run, but that would be the end of the scoring. The home team would threaten further in the inning by getting Ryan Spillborghs to third. Gibson called for the bullpen to get ready, but Saunders was having none of that. He cooly induced yet another groundout, this time to the pinch-hitting Jose Lopez, and was out of the jam.
JJ Putz was finally brought in to close things out in the 9th, and he was brilliant as usual. Tonight was his 13th straight save, and he's been perfect in every appearance.
As mentioned before, Joe Saunders had a great appearance tonight, one that wasn't spoiled by a lack of run support. The Diamondbacks might have been blown out in the first game, but they kept at it and tied up the series. Are you starting to believe?
Acceptance Club Member: Joe Saunders (33.4%)
Also Present: Kelly Johnson (24.7%)
B Team: Gerardo Parra (-6%)
Another decent count for a GDT, especially after the absolute rubbish we saw in the first game. Comments were north of 700, with two pipping the century mark. Both imstillhungry95 and I were in the Century Club, with Clefo just missing out. We were joined by: IHateSouthBend, Rockkstarr12, Jim McLennan, kishi, hotclaws, snakecharmer, BattleMoses, NASCARbernet, Zavada's Moustache, Dallas D'back Fan, Muu, Counsellmember, DeDxDbacKxJroK, Sprankton, xmet, asteroid, Gravity, Backin'the'Backs, 4 Corners Fan, JustAJ, TinySarabia, venomfan, Scottyyy, and Gibbysdad.
Tomorrow is the third game of the series with the Rockies, which will feature Ian Kennedy against Jason Hammell. So let's hope we can take another game against those purple parasites, and go above .500 for the first time since the Opening Day win against the Rockies. First pitch is supposedly at 5:40, so see you here.