Aaron Hill smiles at his teammates in the third base dugout after tripling for his second cycle in two weeks. I think that's the most emotion ever seen from Aaron Hill. (Photo by Mark Hirsch/Getty Images)
The last time the Diamondbacks played a baseball game in Milwaukee, it.. well, it didn't end well. But Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt ensured that the Diamondbacks had a MUCH better night tonight! Aaron Hill became the first player in 81 years to hit his second cycle in the year, and Ian Kennedy pitched 7 innings for the win. Need I say more than that? Fine, follow me after the jump....
|Final - 6.29.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Ian Kennedy (6 - 7)
LP: Randy Wolf (2 - 6)
After winning just one game, and on a 9th Inning Rally at that, in Atlanta, it looked like the Diamondbacks' road woes would continue in Milwaukee, the very place where their 2011 season ended. Ian Kennedy gave up two singles to start the Brewers' 1st inning, and small ball allowed Norichika Aoki scored on a groundout from Aramis Ramirez. The Diamondbacks hitters cared not for small ball and instead tied the game up on a double from Paul Goldschmidt and, with two outs, a ground-rule double from Henry Blanco. (Brewers coaches tried to call foul - literally - but the replay shows chalk clearly flew up as the ball landed on the line.)
And that's when the fun really began. Willie Bloomquist did what Willie does best, which was hit - he led off the 3rd inning with a double. Aaron Hill, who had ground-rule doubled in the 1st inning for his 1,000th career hit, singled on a ball that Rickie Weeks should've been able to get to, and Willie went to third. Hill then stole second base off of Brewers starter Randy Wolf, who had looked a little upset and distracted with the base hit. Justin Upton beat out a barely-outfield-grass-single (to Weeks) to score Bloomquist for the lead. Jason Kubel singed to right field for his 27th RBI of June, which brought up Paul Goldschmidt, who hit a monster 3-run home run to essentially put this game out of reach for the Brewers. With the bases clear, Randy Wolf easily got the next three outs of the inning, but with a 6-1 lead, the Diamondbacks were lookin' good. Who's afraid of the big bad Wolf? NOT US!
Oh but the fun didn't end there, folks. After Bloomquist reached base again - on a Rickie Weeks error - in the 4th inning, Aaron Hill followed with a home run to left field. If you're keeping track, that homer put everybody on #AaronHillCycleAlert (tm Nick Piecoro) - he was a triple away from the cycle, and it was only the 4th inning! In the 5th inning (which was not pitched by Wolf, who was pulled after four innings), Paul Goldschmidt singled to put us on #PaulGoldschmidtCycleAlert - now he only needed a triple as well, and both guys were guaranteed at least one more plate appearance.
In the 6th inning and with two outs, Hill came up (with Bloomquist on base again - all that man does is hit) to face Livan Hernandez, needing a triple. As he said after the game, as he did 11 days ago after his first cycle:
"But you can't think about it," he said. "If you think about doing anything at the plate, you're digging yourself into a hole. I said that last time. You look for a ball up and hope things work out." -Arizona Republic
Well, this one wasn't up, it was low and outside, but he got enough of the bat on it to be hard-hit. He was also fortunate that Nyjer Morgan is an inconsistent center fielder who got a terrible read on the ball and let it roll allll the waaaaaay to the wallllllllll for a triple! And there you have it, folks - the first man in 81 years (since Babe Herman in 1931) to hit two cycles in one season (let alone 11 days!) is your very own, and the Diamondbacks' likely All-Star Game representative, Aaron Hill. (That last part is just speculation; we'll know for sure on Sunday.)
So by now it was 9-1 in the 6th and Kennedy had settled down nicely after the rocky start, allowing only three more baserunners (two singles and a hit-by-pitch) since the 1st inning. But at right around 80 pitches, Kennedy hit the proverbial wall. With two outs in the 6th, Kennedy made a throwing error, Weeks was safe at first base and Corey Hart went to second. He walked the catcher George Kottaras to load the bases, and Cesar Izturis doubled in two runs. But he got out of the inning without further damage, and even pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. Two bumps aside, it was a very solid outing for Ian Kennedy.
Back on #GoldschmidtCycleAlert, Goldy was walked in the 7th inning, but the inning ended without getting out via a double play, which guaranteed Goldschmidt another chance at the cycle in the 9th. He very nearly got the cycle, too - with two outs, he laced a ball down the left field line. He might have tried to stretch it to three bases, since it bounced off the short wall in foul territory, which slowed the ball down; sadly, a fan was leaning into the field of play and touched the ball, making it another ground-rule double. After the game, Paul said he didn't think it made a difference, with it being down the left field line, but up 9-3, he should've at least gotten the chance to make that decision for himself. He can deny it if he wants, but I think he would've tried for it. Oh well, the next time one of his teammates hits for the cycle......
Awesomesauce: P Goldschmidt, +19.7% / A Hill, +18.0%
Worth His Weight: W Bloomquist, +5.3% / I Kennedy, +4.4%
Clown Question, Bro: C Young, -5.8%
Take a look at that fangraph and note Goldy and Hill's nearly identical lines for the night. Combined, they were 8-for-9, 4 runs, 2 home runs, and 6 RBI. Tonight's starting lineup had four players above (Hill) or within shouting distance (Bloomquist, Kubel, Goldschmidt) of the .300 line, and one more (Upton) not far behind. Sure, Chris Young and Ryan Roberts are still scuffling, but our prospects look a lot brighter than they did a few weeks ago. To top it off, the Dodgers and Giants both lost tonight, which puts us only four back of the division lead.
It was a happy gameday thread, and fairly happenin' too for a Friday night. DC beat out ish95 (I know, I was surprised when I saw the number too) for the top spot and was the only person over 100; hotclaws was in third. A total of 37 people combined for over 750 comments: AzDbackfanInDc, Jim McLennan, Clefo, imstillhungry95, 4 Corners Fan, onedotfive, hotclaws, snakecharmer, since_98, txzona, BattleMoses, Zavada's Moustache, shoewizard, kishi, luckycc, egboyz, xmet, GuruB, SenSurround, Surksquatch, blue bulldog, leemellon, DbackCardsFan, mrssoco, Muu, Skii, CaptainCanuck, Waitingfortheroar, TucsonPete, bbtng, JoeCB1991, Backin'the'Backs, SongBird, blank_38, Joel Preston, Bryn21, and Rockkstarr12.
Easy winner for CotD, though for sentimentality I thought about giving it to one of the comments about missing Daron Sutton. There were also some great Twitter comments tonight, but by rule I think those are outlawed. (But I think I see a lot of law-breakers here...)
Wade Miley continues his bid for All Star/Rookie of the Year/Cy Young/MVP tomorrow evening. Grumble grumble grumble FOX out-of-town blackout, a game which FOX has announced that Sutton will not be broadcasting. Sigh. I'm glad the Dbacks are on so many FOX games this year, but what about us out-of-towners, huuuuh? Anyway, tune in or... y'know, don't.