Diamondbacks 15, Marlins 4: Kelly's Heroes

Dead Marlins walking.

Record: 30-24. Pace: 90-72. Change on last season: +10.

So much for those who said this team could only beat bad opponents. Tonight, they destroyed the Florida Marlins, who came into the game with the second-best winning percentage in the National League. Not just beat, but hammered. The Arizona Diamondbacks pounded out 19 hits; Justin Upton had a five-hit night, Miguel Montero drove in five runs and Kelly Johnson cemented his return to form by going deep twice. Joe Saunders escaped early danger and was good enough to ensure our stay at the top was not a one-day wonder.

Way to make a statement, guys. Move into first and then deliver your best performance of the year.

That looked more than a little uncertain early on, as the first three Marlins reached base against Saunders on a pair of singles and a walk. Fortunately, Saunders cleaned up his own mess. He got a little help from the Parrazooka, which even Emilio Bonifacio dare not challenge from shallow left-center, then got a first-pitch pop-up on the infield and got a K with a series of sliders to end the threat. Much the same thing happened in the third, as Saunders again struggled with the top of the Marlins line-up. This time, there was to be no escape, as a single and fielder's choice each drove in a run, and Florida looked to keep pace with Philadelphia in their own divisional race.

They might have been better off not bothering, for the effect on the Arizona offense can be compared to prodding a sleeping panther with a sharp stick. Six hits for Arizona followed immediately, including home-runs to first Gerardo Parra, then Kelly Johnson, to give Arizona the lead for good. The Diamondbacks added runs in the fourth and fifth, countering the Marlins' efforts to make a game of it, by depositing a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers in the fifth, so it was still something of a game at the end of the fifth, with Arizona just a couple up on Florida, at 6-4. Two innings later, not so much...

The Marlins went to their bullpen early, but are probably wishing they hadn't as the D-backs teed off on them. In 4.2 innings of work, Florida relievers allowed 11 hits, three walks and ten runs. Perhaps the highlight wasn't perhaps any of the hits, but a double steal by Upton and Stephen Drew, which stunned the pitcher so much he barely threw the ball to third, where it skipped past a lunging third-baseman, and allowed Upton to score. But it was an offensive firestorm of production, the 19 hits the most for Arizona in a regulation game at Chase since... Since it wasn't Chase but BOB, on June 24, 2003. Let's start with Justin's five hits, and the other occasions that has been done.

Five-hit games by Arizona Diamondbacks

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO
Justin Upton 2011-05-30 ARI FLA W 15-4 5 5 3 5 1 0 1 3 0 0
Justin Upton 2009-09-16 ARI SDP L 5-6 5 5 1 5 1 1 0 1 0 0
Stephen Drew 2008-09-01 ARI STL W 8-6 5 5 3 5 2 1 1 1 0 0
Mark Reynolds 2007-05-25 ARI HOU W 13-3 5 5 4 5 0 1 2 4 0 0
Craig Counsell 2005-08-07 ARI COL W 9-4 5 5 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Danny Bautista 2004-04-22 ARI MIL W 11-9 8 8 2 5 1 0 2 5 0 0
Shea Hillenbrand 2003-07-07 ARI COL W 14-6 5 5 4 5 1 0 3 7 0 0
Matt Kata 2003-06-30 ARI COL W 8-7 6 6 3 5 1 0 1 2 0 0
Greg Colbrunn 2002-09-18 ARI SDP W 10-3 6 6 4 5 1 1 2 4 0 1
Craig Counsell 2002-05-26 ARI LAD W 10-9 6 6 2 5 1 0 0 2 0 0
Junior Spivey 2001-08-12 ARI ATL W 9-1 5 5 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Junior Spivey 2001-06-21 ARI COL W 14-5 6 6 3 5 0 1 0 3 0 1
Travis Lee 1999-06-09 ARI CHC W 8-7 5 5 2 5 1 1 0 0 0 0
Tony Batista 1999-04-10 ARI ATL W 8-3 5 5 2 5 0 0 1 4 0 0

Kelly Johnson finished a single short of the cycle, striking out to end the Arizona eighth. However, he still had four extra-base hits, including two homers, giving him a total of 13 bases. That number has only been surpassed three times in D-backs history, most recently also in 2003, with Shea Hillenbrand's three-homer game listed on the chart above. Johnson finally seems to be coming round: since the start of the road-trip, he has hit .429 [12-for-28], and his OPS has gone up from .585 to .712. If he and J-Up catch fire, that should counteract any regression.

Elsewhere on the offense, and you'll forgive me if I don't give all the performances the space and credit they deserve, or I'll be here all night. Stephen Drew: two hits and a walk, three runs scored. Chris Young: two hits and a walk, plus a stolen-base. Miguel Montero: three hits, including a three-run homer that basically ended this as a contest, and five RBI. Gerardo Parra: got the team on the board with another opposite-field homer, also walked and scored two runs. Heck, even Xavier Nady extended his hitting streak to eight games with a pinch-hit single in the seventh.

The pitching hardly matters when you score fifteen runs. Saunders got us through six frames, allowing four runs, all earned, on seven hits and two walks. However, he did strike out seven, and deserves credit for his first inning escapology. After that, as we were 11-4 up at the end of the sixth, it was over to the B-bullpen of Esmerling Vasquez, Micah Owings and Zach Kroenke, who each posted a zero, though each also walked a man - Vasquez and Kroenke allowed a hit apiece too. Still, up was successfully mopped, and the D-backs 15-2 run is tied for the best in franchise history (as noted yesterday, June 11-30, 2003).

Happiness1_medium
[Click to enlarge, at fangraphs.com]
Audie Murphy: Kelly Johnson + 22.6%
SEAL Team Six: Young, +16.3%; Upton, +12.5%; Parra, +11.2%, Montero +10.8%

Non-combatant: Melvin Mora, -9.4%

Clefo and soco each cracked 100, with BulldogsNotZags claiming third-place. Also taking part: snakecharmer, BattleMoses, asteroid, NASCARbernet, 4 Corners Fan, kishi, Dallas D'Back Fan, xmet, Wimb, hotclaws, Rockkstarr12, Gibbysdad, txzona, 5SB.1WS.NUFFSAID, Jim McLennan, nateasaurus, mrssoco, dback4life, Jdub220, eel, dbacks25, blank_38, Cory Williams, Sprankton, GuruB, IHateSouthBend, LiamNeeson, Coach Cleats, SongBird, Skii, Torpedosneak and Prosopis. I'm pretty sure you enjoyed the game as much as I did. Comment of the Night goes to hotclaws, for her tip on child-rearing:

Let's do it all again tomorrow, with what promises to be a good pitching match-up, pitting Ian Kennedy against Anibal Lecter Sanchez. Another fifteen runs for Arizona? I wouldn't mind...

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