Sep. 14, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) argues with second base umpire Jim Joyce (66) during the game against the San Francisco Giants in the fourth inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Record: 71-73. Pace: 80-82. Change on last year: -12.
Oh those rascally Diamonodbacks! 2 game sweep against the Dodgers, suddenly only 4 games back in the Wild Card, and everything seemed swell. Then our expectations met the buzzsaw that is Matt Cain. Losing to a legitimately great pitcher isn't the end of the world, and this game didn't affect Arizona's chances at the postseason much more than the prior two wins. It just certainly felt more like the same old, lackluster D-backs.The first two innings of the game tonight was like a game of "How many baserunners does it take to score a run?" Matt Cain walked three Diamondbacks in the first inning and Aaron Hill reached on a sacrifice bunt, but because Adam Eaton committed his first TOOTBLAN (and is now an official 2012 Arizona Diamondback), the bases were left loaded with nobody scoring. San Francisco and Arizona both stranded two baserunners in the second inning.
San Francisco broke the game open in the third, Tyler Skaggs's one really bad inning of the game. He walked Matt Cain to lead off the inning, and of course, nothing bad can come of that, right? Two more singles moved Cain to third, and he scored on an infield grounder than Ryan Wheeler threw home. The ball was either caught milliseconds before or after Cain touched home plate, depending on which extremely-slow-motion camera angle you look at. Cain was called safe and the Giants had a 1-0 lead. The Giants extended that lead to 5-0 when the next batter, Hunter Pence, on a two-strike count, smacked a home run to the left field bleachers for a grand slam. Although Skaggs bounced back with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, he was done after that.
Not that we haven't scored five runs off of Matt Cain before - in fact, we did it in April - and with Cain not having his usual command and having walked four (including a two-out walk to Montero in the third), the Diamondbacks were getting their chances.
Second verse, nearly the same as the first - Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill reached to lead off the fifth inning, but Hill was doubled off of first base on an unfortunate line drive, and Eaton was left standing at second.
Hunter Pence was drilled in the sixth inning by reliever Brad Bergesen - coincidence? The Giants did their part by plunking Montero in the next half, but the Diamondbacks got the last laugh there, as Montero scored Arizona's first run after back-to-back singles by Justin Upton and, after Cain left the game, pinch hitter Chris Johnson. With the score 5-1, Guillermo Mota then hit John McDonald to load the bases with nobody out. But, this is the Diamondbacks we're watching here, so do you think they managed to get any more runs across the plate? Why no, not the 2012 edition. Chris Young scorched a ball that Pablo Sandoval somehow managed to snare, then Eaton grounded into a force out at home, and Hill struck out to end the inning (which, by the way, featured three pitching changes by Bruce Bochy).
Bryan Shaw allowed a hit to Angel Pagan in the seventh, but he was doubled up on left fielder Jason Kubel's franchise record 13th outfield assist. (You think some day teams will learn? Let's hope that day isn't soon!)
Matt Lindstrom had a tough eighth inning. Sandoval doubled to lead it off, and Lindstrom's own indecision allowed Buster Posey to reach safely. With two outs, Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and reliever Santiago Casilla squibbed a single past Hill to add a run for the Giants and make it 6-1.
Arizona tried to fight their way back in the last two innings, but couldn't get enough hits strung together to do it. Johnson doubled to lead off the bottom half of the eighth and Jake Elmore walked, but they were both stranded - baserunners 12 and 13 left on base on the evening. Paul Goldschmidt and Montero had back-to-back singles in the ninth (prompting Bochy to bring in pitcher number seven). Upton struck out and a bloop single by Johnson scored Goldschmidt, but then McDonald struck out to end the game with a score of 6-2.
Duck: Chris Johnson (12.5%)
Duck: Miguel Montero (8.1%)
Goose: Tyler Skaggs (-27.6%)
Just a pip over 500 comments tonight, with imstillhungry95 taking the poll, just barely nipping AzDbackfanInDc. They were the only two in the Century Club, and they were joined by: marionette, 4 Corners Fan, hotclaws, snakecharmer, asteroid, Jim McLennan, soco, CaptainCanuck, piratedan7, Muu, azshadowwalker, Husk, Diamondhacks, Rockkstarr12, justin1985, TucsonPete, dhp318, txzona, rfffr, Clefo, and Ridster09.
Comment of the Day goes to imstillhungry95, who apparently is gunning for both the Driver's and Constructor's Championships tonight, with this pessimistic view:
Giants again tomorrow. What, did you think it'd be anything different? The series has just barely started, you can't give up now. First pitch tomorrow is at 5:10pm, so be here, or somewhere else.