DENVER, CO - MAY 17: Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up in the on-deck circle before batting against the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning at Coors Field on May 17, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. Upton hit a two-run go-ahead home run in his at-bat that proved to be the game winning runs as the Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 9-7. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Record: 17-22. Pace: 71-91. Change over last year: 0.
It isn't always easy. The runs don't always come right away, the bullpen doesn't always hold the lead, the normally sure-handed defense doesn't always snag the balls. Leads sometimes come late, or fall late, or roll back and forth like midnight surf. The wine-dark sea might churn with an approaching storm. The water rises, the undertow pulls you down, your legs kick but don't make any progress. The salty, dark sea fills your mouth, weighs down your lungs, wraps tentacles around your spine as you sink.
Or sometimes it laps harmlessly against the rocks underneath the house on the cliff, the storm passing by in the distance.
|Final - 5.17.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Brad Ziegler (2 - 1)
SV: J.J. Putz (7)
LP: Rafael Betancourt (1 - 1)
The boxscore won't do it justice. My description won't do it justice. I'll try to cover the relevant points as best as I can, but it was a strange game that we were in many ways lucky to escape.
It certainly didn't start strong. Trevor Cahill was on the bump for Arizona, and quickly started giving up runs. Marco Scutaro started the first inning off for the Rockies with a walk, and he was brought home with a two run homer by Troy Tulowitzki. The second inning didn't start any better, with Tyler Colvin leading off with a walk before being brought around on a Dexter Fowler triple.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks didn't start the game too hot, either. They had plenty of chances, facing a pitcher, Juan Nicasio, who seemingly had little control. Through 5 innings the Diamondbacks picked up 5 walks, but only managed 2 hits. Instead, the ugly strikeout reared its head, stranding runner after runner while the D-backs could only scratch out 1 run.
Things looked differently as the game progressed, though, and suddenly the runs started appearing in waves. By the 8th inning the D-backs had managed to hold the game and only be down 4-2. Gerardo Parra kicked things off with a one out walk, and it felt like it would be another runner stranded. He moved up on a wild pitch, and then amazingly Willie Bloomquist came through with an RBI single. 4-3. Justin Upton was intentionally walked to bring up Miguel Montero. He might have struck out, but Jason Kubel, Arizona's hero, came through again with an RBI single to tie the game. The D-backs weren't done, though, with both Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Roberts getting RBI singles to bring the score to 7-4.
Life was feeling good, and we chortled at the possibility that the Rockies might be feeling the Dreaded Eighth Inning. How naive we can be, for the Diamondbacks had their own surprises in store. David Hernandez was brought out, yet seemingly could not through consistent strikes or catch a break. Two singles, three walks, and an error by Roberts later, and we were tied. Oh, and two of those walks brought a runner home. You really don't want me to get into the gory details.
The messy inning was finally, mercifully brought to a close with an amazing diving catch by Justin Upton. Would momentum stay with the home team, or had Upton catch lightning in the bottle along with that catch?
To the top of the 9th, where Parra got things going again with a one out double. He then promptly stole third with such a ridiculously large jump he could have stolen the base standing up. Yet again, though, a runner in scoring position was in danger of being stranded. Bloomquist, reverting back to his Doomquist moniker, struck out, falling to produce any kind of contact that might have brought in Parra. Justin Upton stepped up to the plate, perhaps our last hope. He took the count to 1-2, and then slammed a homer to deep right, putting Arizona back up 9-7.
The bottom of the 9th was still looming, however, and JJ Putz answered the call. He, like Hernandez before him, did not look good. Carlo Gonzalez, Tulowitzki, and Todd Helton hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs. Putz would need to lock it down, and although he struggled and brought us to the precipice, he would succeed. Alex White, a pitcher called up to take as many pitches as he could in lieu of the depleted Rockies bench, struck out. Ramon Hernandez saw the first pitch, and then promptly ground into a double play. Game over.
There were other things about the game that were strange, of course. A bee attack by the camera wells on the 1st base side distracted the broadcast crew for a few innings. A Diamondbacks fan was kicked out of Coors Field for throwing back a home run (and is there anymore discussion about the whininess of the Rockies organization? Is there a way for them to be relegated to the minor leagues they imitate?). The game had a surreal feel, as if it was lifted directly from Head, the seminal film classic.
Off to Kansas City now, where there is jazz and barbecue and a Negro League Museum. And also the Royals and Frenchy. I'd like to believe that this game might light a fire under the team, but I've been burnt too many times before in the short month and a half of 2012. First pitch tomorrow is 5:10pm Arizona time. Be here or somewhere else.