long short time ago, in a galaxy city far far not that far away...
The Arizona Diamondbacks have returned to the city of San Francisco. Last year here, they put the NL West division title out of the reach of their most hated enemy, the Giants. But times have changed since then, and the Diamondbacks have become the spoiler. With 11 more games against the Giants and Dodgers, they still have a role to play in this story...
Youngster Patrick Corbin did not get off to a good start in this game. In the first inning, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval both singled, Buster Posey doubled in Scutaro, and Hunter Pence tripled off the wall in right-center, that bounced away from Justin Upton, to bring in the others. With Corbin almost out of the inning, Hector Sanchez hit a ball that bounced up and nearly hit third baseman Chris Johnson in the face. Pence scored then to make it 4-0 bad guys after just one inning.
Barry Zito had no trouble at all with eager Diamondbacks hitters. Paul Goldschmidt doubled in the second inning, and Cody Ransom singled to lead off the third, but nobody else managed much behind them. Miguel Montero singled to lead off the fifth inning, and he scored when Johnson mashed a home run over the left field wall. Because Corbin had settled down and threw four more scoreless frames, this made it 4-2 Giants after five.
Then came One Of The Most Fun Sixth Innings Ever. So much fun - at the time - in fact, I nearly named the recap title after it (until Innings Nine And Ten Happened). Upton and Jason Kubel hit back-to-back singles to chase Barry Zito from the game. Guillermo Mota came in and remembered that he was just Guillermo Mota. First, Goldschmidt belted a double to left that hopped over the wall, scoring only Upton. Montero struck out for out #1, and Johnson nearly hit another home run but settled for a sac fly to center (out #2) that scored Kubel to tie the game at 4-4, and Goldy advanced to third. Ransom walked, and Willie Bloomquist returned to the team pinch-hitting for Corbin and, with two strikes, singled to left, bringing home Goldy for the lead (and Ransom also advanced to third). George Kontos replaced Mota, and couldn't get the third out without giving up two more runs - Chris Young and Aaron Hill both singled in runs to make it a 7-4 game. Upton, who had singled to lead off the inning, flew out to right for out #3.
Brad Ziegler allowed one run on two hits in the seventh inning, but Upton got that run right back in the eighth by singling in Ryan Wheeler. But the Giants got within one run in the next half when, all with two outs, David Hernandez gave up a double to Sanchez, a double to Brandon Crawford, and a single to Brandon Belt. That made it 8-7 D'backs going into the bottom of the ninth, and the meat of the Giants' order due up against J.J. Putz.
Yes, J.J. blew the save yesterday, but he had converted 19 in a row before that, and he's the closer for a reason. Hard to tell if the blown save was on his mind, or if it was just the workload - Nick Piecoro pointed out that both Hernandez and Putz now appeared in four games in the last five days - but J.J. wasn't sharp. He gave up a leadoff double to Marco Scutaro (it was nearly a home run), who came round to tie the game at 8-8 on a hit by Buster Posey. (With Scutaro on third, Johnson had been playing in, and the ball just got by him down the line.)
J.J. got out of the inning with the game tied, so at least there is that. Bryan Shaw was brought in for the tenth inning. Crawford led off with an infield single to shortstop (it was a good play by Ransom, Crawford's speed means he just beat it out). Then Scutaro, again came up with a runner on third, and he was the hero at the plate, singling in Crawford to win the game for the Giants. (Johnson again was playing in, and again would've gotten to the ball had he been in normal position.)
A New Hope: P Goldschmidt, +28%
Return of the Jedi: W Bloomquist, +20.7%
The Phantom Menace: B Shaw, -39.9%
Apparently this is the Giants' fourth come-from-behind victory in the last six days, and they currently hold a 5-game lead over the Dodgers. This time last year, the Diamondbacks held a 6-game divisional lead, and they didn't look back.
Twas a quiet and maudlin sort of day on the 'Pit. Even after getting a 3-run lead, nobody felt this game was safe. DC led the way with 99 comments, onedotfive and ish95 behind him. All present were: imstillhungry95, AzDbackfanInDc, Jim McLennan, Rockkstarr12, Brendan Porter, hotclaws, PatrickPetersonAZ, marionette, onedotfive, rd33, Clefo, Diamondhacks, xmet, 4 Corners Fan, dbacks79, blank_38, porty99, snakecharmer, GuruB, Circa4life, Lisalisa8, Bryn21, sonic barracuda, oldspartan, and Sabean's_Folly.
Night games for the next two nights, at which I will be. (I don't like holiday crowds, even if it was an absolutely gorgeous day in the city...) Let's hope this throws the Giants out of whack, since their last four games have all been day games...