If you look at this photo's thumbnail and squint a little bit, Upton's and Hill's arms look really strange... (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Record: 36-35. Pace: 82-80. Change on 2011: -3
It's Saturday, right? It's black unis day, right? It's Ian Kennedy's bobblehead day, so he has to pitch well, right? Uhm, about that last one...
Ian Kennedy kept the Cubs off the scoreboard until a home run in the 4th inning, but struggled with a high pitch count, and couldn't make it out of the 5th inning. The Diamondbacks bullpen was again pressed into service earlier than they'd like, but again they did fabulous work. And the bats continued to be smoldering hot here in the Arizona desert, and it was the offense that carried the team to their third win in a row.
|Final - 6.23.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Craig Breslow (2 - 0)
LP: Paul Maholm (4 - 6)
Kennedy got off to an auspicious start, allowing two nearly identical singles to left field to lead off the top of the first. Luckily, the Cubs are still the Cubs, so they failed to score. They also failed to score in the 2nd inning after David DeJesus doubled to lead it off, advanced to third, and Alfonso Soriano was hit by a pitch.
The Diamondbacks showed similar levels of futility in their 2nd inning. With Chris Young having doubled and moved to third (on a "foul out to shallow left"? I must've missed that..), Ian Kennedy walked with two outs. Willie Bloomquist then put down a nice bunt and hustled to first, but Young saw that he would've ran into the out once the pitcher picked up the ball, so he stayed put at third. Yup, runner on third and a single, and we still don't get the run.
Luckily, Justin Upton led off the 3rd inning with a solo home run to left, his second home run in two days. "How Justin Upton Got His Groove Back", anyone? But the lead didn't last. In the 4th inning, the Cubs got four straight hits off of Ian Kennedy - three singles and a home run by the pitcher. Luckily, Paul Maholm's home run was only a two-run home run, but it was still an unfortunate occurrence.
I think Maholm's two-minute trot around the bases for his second career home run was just too taxing for him. The Diamondbacks said "You want to see people run around the bases? We'll show you people running around the bases!" Ryan Roberts led off with a single, and Kennedy walked for the second straight plate appearance. After Bloomquist ground into a fielder's choice to get Kennedy off of the basepaths, the wheels came off of Maholm's wagon. On a grounder by Aaron Hill, third baseman Luis Valbuena thought briefly about trying to throw home to get Roberts, but that lapse in judgement made him throw wide, and everybody was safe. Then Upton singled, Bloomquist scored. Jason Kubel singled, Hill and Upton scored. Goldschmidt made the most exciting play in baseball, a triple (wasn't even a throw, though), and Kubel scored. And Montero singled in Goldschmidt. Just like that, it was 7-2 Diamondbacks, and Maholm was finally pulled for Jairo Asencio. Chris Young grounded out, and Roberts batted a second time and flew out to right field.
But, remember those early baserunners that the Cubs couldn't score? It took quite a few pitches by Kennedy to get those extra outs, and that did not make for a happy 5th inning for Kennedy. By the time he allowed a single to Soriano to lead off the frame, walk Geovany Soto, and gave up a two-run-scoring double to Steve Clevenger, Kennedy was at 109 pitches and could only get one out in the 5th inning. Craig Breslow came in and Clevenger did score on a Jeff Baker single, giving Kennedy five earned runs in four and a third innings this evening.
Breslow got out of the 5th, batted for himself (and, sadly, could not continue the tradition of relievers getting their first hits), and then went out and pitched the 6th. He labored a bit there, working around a leadoff single, but did really well, throwing an inning and two thirds.
Fans started to breath a little easier when Paul Goldschmidt homered to deep center field, into the bleacher area out there. Then we all reached for the paper bags when Mike Zagurski came in to pitch the 7th inning, but he redeemed himself from his last outing and had a nice 1-2-3 inning. Then Willie Bloomquist doubled again (he was 3-for-5 tonight) and scored on a single from Hill to make it 9-5. Goldschmidt doubled (giving him the triple, homer, and double pieces of a cycle) in the bottom of the 8th and scored when Montero singled to left.
J.J. "The Easy Button" Putz came in for the save and have us a 1-2-3 9th inning. And the Diamondbacks are finally above .500!
All Teh Pointz: J Upton, +26.6%
Deserves More Credit: P Goldschmidt, +7%; C Breslow, +5.8%; W Bloomquist, +0.2%
Grab Some Pine, Meat: C Young, +1%
Well, what a nice game that was. Well, it was not nice watching Kennedy struggle and then sit alone with his head in his hands on the bench, but it was really nice watching the bullpen keep the Cubs at bay and seeing the offense tee off on Maholm. And it was nice of them add some insurance runs just to make us feel better. The Diamondbacks have now scored 46 runs in their past five games. Oh offense, where have you been all season?!
You know what happens when we feel good? We chat! About Dr. Who and about cross-country road trips and grammar and animals in tutus - wait, no, that was just on Twitter. I promise, many of the 1,348 comments were about the baseball game. ish95 led the way as always, but at least there were four more of us (myself, soco, Clefo, and DC) in triple digits, and CaptainCanuck was only two posts away from that mark. All present were: AzDbackfanInDc, dbacks79, Jim McLennan, soco, Augdogs, hotclaws, mrssoco, asteroid, GuruB, 4 Corners Fan, BattleMoses, CaptainCanuck, imstillhungry95, azshadowwalker, snakecharmer, Clefo, Zavada's Moustache, kishi, shoewizard, rd33, G.O.B., Airwave, Bryn21, blank_38, Muu, Fangdango, Backin'the'Backs, sonic barracuda, SongBird, samxrm, TinySarabia, txzona, BulldogsNotZags, and PR151.
Well, the comment I wanted to use as COTD needs context (so you all should go search for the thing about eating the baby), so instead I'll use this one from Bulldogs:
Unfortunately, a second straight night of long pitching by the bullpen means that tomorrow, Wade Miley will stay out there as long as his arm stays attached to his body. And now I get to say "We're going for the SWEEP OF THE CUBS tomorrow!"