Shaw's first save opportunity closed out the season-opening sweep of SF - Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Even in a disappointing year, there was plenty to enjoy for Diamondbacks fans. We kick off the 2012 AZ SnakePit awards with the first category, the most memorable single play of the season.
4/8: Bryan Shaw fans St. Buster to save the sweep vs. SFG
On the first Sunday of the season, the defending champion D-backs stood on the brink of an epic sweep of their expected nearest rivals, the Giants. A sterling comeback from 6-0 down after three, let AZ reach the ninth with the slimmest of leads. However, the one-run wins of Friday and Saturday left both J.J. Putz and David Hernandez unavailable, and the team turned to Bryan Shaw for his first ever major league save opportunity. No pressure. After two easy outs, Cabrera'd singled and a pitch fell into Sandoval's gravitational well, moving the tying run into scoring position for Posey. A called strike and foul tip put Shaw 0-2 up, before he nailed the door closed.
4/28: Willie Bloomquist's no-look flip to second vs. MIA
The Diamondbacks has taken an early two-run lead, but in the bottom of the first, the Marlins had put their lead-off man aboard, former D-back Emilio Bonifacio. Ian Kennedy did get a ground-ball, but look like it might get through, back up the middle - Bloomquist covered a lot of ground to stop that. More amazingly, however, while literally on his head, Willie flipped the ball back to Aaron Hill, making a throw that was both accurate and strong enough just to get the force on Bonifacio, who is among the fastest runners in the game. It's not the first time Bonifacio has been bitten by our defense: one of last year's nominees in this category was Gerardo Parra gunning him down at home.
6/8: Ryan Roberts' walk-off three-run homer vs. OAK
RyRo won last year's category in a landslide, his walk-off grand slam getting 85% of the votes. While his 2012 season was disappointing in a number of ways, he still came through, big time in the ninth inning here. Arizona had been six runs down early on, and came in to the last inning, still trailing 8-6. Indeed, they were down to their final out, with the bases still empty, before Chris Young walked and Aaron Hill singled. That brought Roberts to the plate. Ryan fouled the first delivery off, then took a couple of pitches from A's closer Brian Fuentes out of the zone. There have only been eight walk-off homers for Arizona when trailing. Roberts has one-quarter of them.
9/9: Adam Eaton doubles the runner off first vs. SDP
Any doubts as to whether Eaton could play center were all but erased with a single play in this game. After a single to lead off the fifth inning, with San Diego holding on to a one-run lead, ball was hit deep towards the gap in left-center, Eaton covered a lot of ground, to make a fine catch for the first out. However, that was just the start: he then turned and threw a strike, on the fly, to Paul Goldschmidt at first-base, the ball arriving fractionally ahead of the surprised base-runner for what was arguably the most impressive and unlikely double-play of the season. Not many twin killings start just shy of the warning track in left-center and end at first base.
10/2: Aaron Hill's walk-off homer vs. COL
Walk-off wins were few and far between for the Diamondbacks in 2012 - they managed only two all year, less than they had in June 2011 alone. However, both were undeniably dramatic, with the team trailing at the time, and down to their final out. Of course, Hill - the man who flair for the dramatic showed up more than once this season! - had to be behind one of them. As in 2011, game #161 proved memorable for a walk-off shot, Hill sending the ball into the left-field bleachers after Gerardo Parra had singled to get Hill into the batter's box. It was Aaron's first walk-off hit as a D-back and the second walk-off homer of his career, coming more than six years after his first.
What was the 2012 D-backs Play of the Year?
4/8: Bryan Shaw fans St. Buster (2 votes)
4/28: Willie Bloomquist's no-look flip (9 votes)
6/8: Ryan Roberts' walk-off three-run homer (12 votes)
9/9: Adam Eaton doubles the runner off first (31 votes)
10/2: Aaron Hill's walk-off homer (5 votes)
59 total votes