PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 06: Relief pitcher J.J. Putz #40 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the MLB game at Chase Field on July 6, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 5-3. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
When you lose six games in a row and "only" lose three games in the division standings, you're pressing your luck. And with the Giants defeating the Pirates earlier in the day, it was key for Arizona to break the losing streak at six. But, could they do that against the NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw? Find out after the jump..... (Or you could just read the box score, but then you'd miss all the fun...)
|Final - 7.6.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||0||0||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||3||13||0|
|WP: Josh Collmenter (1 - 2)
SV: J.J. Putz (15)
LP: Clayton Kershaw (6 - 5)
I feel like there's an auspicious start every time I recap, because I feel like I always say it was an auspicious start for the Diamondbacks' starter. It was another tonight, for Josh Collmenter. Tony Gwynn Jr. singled and Mark Ellis walked, and there were runners on the corners with one out. Luckily, Collmenter got pop-ups from Juan Rivera and Adam Kennedy to strand the runners.
A "juuuuust a bit [high]" throw from Willie Bloomquist allowed Gwynn to be safe in the 3rd inning, and with two outs, he scored on a double by Bobby Abreu to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Kennedy added a solo home run to lead off the 4th inning for a 2-0 lead.
Normally a 2-0 lead wouldn't be too worrisome, but Kershaw is 4-1 with a 1.11 ERA against the Diamondbacks in their last five match-ups. Justin Upton, in particular, is only 1-for-22 against Kershaw in his career. Aaron Hill singled in the 1st inning and Upton worked a walk in the 4th, but there was nothing doing offensively until Arizona's half of the 6th inning.
Henry Blanco (who sort of looks like he might have found the Bics for 'Backs gift bag) worked a leadoff walk, and the speedster went to third on a single by Willie Bloomquist. Then the fun began. Hill singled home Blanco for the first run, and Justin Upton came up big time with a trrrrrrrriple to the left field corner to give Arizona a 3-2 lead. Jason Kubel thought, "I can beat that", and he nearly did with a double to the left field wall to score Upton. Kershaw was then pulled for Jamey Wright, and catcher A.J. Ellis wasn't quite sure what to do with Wright's funky breaking balls that kept bouncing in front of him. Wright walked two to load the bases for, wouldn't you know it, Henry Blanco. After getting into an 0-2 count, Blanco laid off the pitches in the dirt, one of which squirted away and scored Jason Kubel for the Diamondbacks' fifth run of the inning. Blanco fouled off four pitches and worked a 3-2 count, but his sinking line drive to left was caught on a slide by the left fielder Abreu.
A job well done to Josh Collmenter who, outside of a few pitches he'd probably rather have back, did a fabulous job tonight. He gave six innings of closely played baseball, allowing the two runs (only one earned) on six hits and two walks, while also striking out six Dodgers. It was enough to earn Collmenter his first win of the 2012 season.
Not that the bullpen didn't try to make things "interesting", though. Right after taking a 5-2 lead, Bryan Shaw comes in and walks Gwynn. Follow that up with three consecutive singles, and you've got yourself into a difficult spot - bases loaded, nobody out, and a run already in. So, in comes
Brad Ziegler Craig Breslow David Hernandez Mike Zagurski in what must've been the most high-leverage situation the kid's ever been in. But Big Z was Big Money, striking out Jerry Hairston Jr. and getting James Loney to fly out to left. Then came a huge out from Jason Kubel's arm as he threw home, easily getting Mark Ellis out at the plate to end the inning.
There was barely time to exhale before Hernandez came in and promptly put runners at the corners with nobody out, and second and third after a wild pitch on pinch-hitter Elian Herrera's strikeout. Gwynn flew out to Chris Young in center, and the Dodgers weren't about to risk another out at the plate, so they held Luis Cruz at third (Young had thrown to the cutoff man, and it was a lightning-quick transfer from glove to throw.) Mark Ellis struck out swinging and Hernandez was fired up as he walked off the mound. What a moment.
Those pesky leadoff base-runners even continued to be a problem in the 9th inning. On J.J. Putz's second pitch, Abreu singled, but Rivera ground into a fabulously turned 5-4-3 double play. Things were looking good, but Hairston had to make them look "interesting" again by getting a two-out single. Thank goodness James Loney continues to be not-nearly-as-good-as-he-was-for-a-brief-moment and ground out harmlessly to third. Thus endeth the six-game losing streak!
Full Season Order: M Zagurski, +34.9%, J Upton, +26.8%
Mid Season Replacement: A Hill, +10.4%
Still On The Air?: B Shaw, -35.6%
'Pitters decided they really couldn't live without the gameday thread on this fine Friday night, and accumulated over 1,000 comments. Some even had to do with the game. ish95 led the way, with soco not far behind; 'Skins made the podium but missed the century mark. All present were: Rockkstarr12, soco, Clefo, edbigghead, imstillhungry95, hotclaws, Jim McLennan, snakecharmer, Stupendous Man, AzDbackfanInDc, BattleMoses, onedotfive, txzona, luckycc, KDbacks, since_98, Zavada's Moustache, DbacksSkins, jinnah, DbackCardsFan, G.O.B., Gibbysdad, 4 Corners Fan, JoeCB1991, CaptainCanuck, iheartdbacks, and LiamNeeson.
soco made a funny comment about cheeseburgers, but I'm giving CODT to jinnah with an assist from 'skins. Because I agree with her, and because Aaron Hill was 3-for-4 tonight. (And not because I need her votes after the coup. Wait, what?)
Well, it'd be nice to make some headway into that division lead gap, but you have to start by beating the second place team. Let's try this winning thing again tomorrow night, shall we? Trevor Cahill vs Chad Billingsly at 7pm, same bat channel!