Arizona 8/2, Cincinnati 7/Oakland 11: Hail To The King, Baby

The Diamondbacks did extend their winning streak to four, by taking the opening game of today's split-squad set, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-7 in Goodyear, thanks to a seven-run sixth, most of the damage being done against a familiar face in an unfamiliar uniform. However, that didn't last long, as the rain-delayed - okay, technically, it was hail-delayed - contest at Salt River Fields went to the Athletics in a big way. They pounder former Oakland pitcher Trevor Cahill and the other Arizona pitchers bigtime, with the Diamondbacks losing 11-2.

Arizona's record after the split is 7-10, with one game tied.

Let's start with the good, i.e. the victory in Goodyear. It was notable first for a good start by Tyler Skaggs, who showed some very nice form against serious major-league hitters, striking out five over three innings of work, with two hits and no walks. His victims included Paul Janish, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce , who were hitting 2-3-5 respectively in the Reds line-up. He said after, "I threw everything pretty well today. I felt like my changeup was really good today and curveball was probably the best it's been so far. The fastball hit its spots sometimes, but I still need to work on some command issues. But other than that, I felt really good today."

He did allow a run in the first inning, which is when both the hits came, but retired the final seven batters faced, and Arizona pulled level in the third on an Adam Eaton RBI double. It didn't last long, as Joe Paterson struggled in the bottom of the fourth. On the plus side, he struck out three Reds batters. On the debit side of the balance sheet, that was around two walks and a three-run homer to left-handed batter Bruce, which isn't what you expect of Paterson. Indeed, last year, he allowed zero home-runs in 78 ABs to southpaws. Cincinnati added another tally in the fifth off Jason Lane, to make it 5-1.

However, the D-backs dropped a seven-spot on them, the unlucky opposing pitcher being none other than Clay Zavada. He got the first out, but six consecutive Diamondbacks then reached base safely, on three hits and three walks - Cody Ransom unclogged the bases with a three-run double, and later in the inning Eaton added a two-run triple as Arizona sent 11 to the plate. Mike McDonald worked two innings, and Kevin Munson threw a scoreless eighth, though Evan Marshall made it interesting in the ninth, giving up four hits including a homer, and getting the final out with the tying run in scoring position.

Eaton's two hits drew post-game praise from manager Kirk Gibson: "Eaton’s aggressive. I’m giving him a lot of innings while he’s here. He’s got a great attitude." Gibson also confirmed Skaggs will be given another start: he's scheduled for four innings at SnakePitSpringFest against Kansas on Saturday night. Chris Young continued his solid spring with a pair of doubles, and Henry Blanco drew a couple of walks. There was a surprisingly-low crowd, less than 4,000, at Goodyear - perhaps the unspringlike weather kept fans away?

The other game was less entertaining, despite being seen by over three times as many people, with a 12,500+ crowd at SRF. Trevor Cahill couldn't solve his old team, and again was hurt by the long-ball, a homer in the second responsible for both of the runs he allowed in three innings. Cahill was tagged with two hits, two walks and two strikeouts. He wasn't the only one, as J.J. Putz and Craig Breslow also allowed bombs, leading to the first five A's runs. The two Bryans, Shaw and Woodall, struggled, combining for six hits, four walks and six earned runs in the seventh and eighth, though Mike DeMark struck out two in a perfect ninth. AZ pitchers walked eight batters all told.

The Diamondbacks did get nine hits, but came up empty in six at-bats with runners in scoring position. The scoring came courtesy of a two-run homer in the fourth from 3B Matt Davidson. Starting CF A.J. Pollock and LF Gerardo Parra each picked up a couple of knocks, with DH Marc Krauss taking a couple of walks and 2B Jacob Elmore getting on base safely twice, with a walk and a hit. These two teams will go at it again tomorrow afternoon, this time over at Phoenix Muni. And it'll be another reunion of sorts, this time with one of the players dealt for Cahill, Jarrod Parker, taking the mound for Oakland. Should be interesting.

snakecharmer led the way in the comments section, which fell just short of 250, despite my attempts to pad numbers with a blow-by-blow description of a Windows XP reinstallation. Fascinating stuff. blue bulldog and txzona has slightly more meaningful posts to follow up 'charmer, and the other not previously mentioned who took part were: Clefo, Muu, asteroid, hotclaws, dbacks25, Counsellmember, NASCARbernet, txzona, MagicMike23, soco, and fandbacks.

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