Parra enjoys the first home-run by a Diamondback this spring. - USA TODAY Sports
There seemed to be a clear difference between the rosters that went to Tempe to face Anaheim, and the one that stayed at SRF to play Oakland. But the bottom line is, Arizona
won avoided defeat in both contests, and evened their spring record at 2-2, with one game tied.
Let's start with the "home" game - not least because, as I write this, I'm still watching the Angels game, which is being shown on the MLB Network, tape delayed by an hour. So I'm in the sixth inning of that one, and having to resist the urge to fast-forward through the adverts, to catch up. At Salt River Fields, Josh Collmenter was the starter, on the final day before the D-backs start their regular rotation members, and did well, posting two shutout innings, with one hit and two strikeouts. David Hernandez made his second appearance of spring, and it went better than his first, where he allowed three runs - though he still allowed a homer to the first batter faced.
The Arizona offense then showed up, providing crooked numbers in each of the next four innings, as they scored a total of nine unanswered runs. Jason Kubel got his first home-run of spring in the fourth, a two-run shot to the opposite field, and Adam Eaton virtually repeated the medicine in the fifth, with his first long-ball, also coming with a man aboard. And Cliff Pennington - stop me if you've heard this before - had his first preseason blast, a two-run shot, in the sixth. That came immediately after an RBI single for Wil Nieves. The Diamondbacks scoring for the afternoon was completed in the next frame, courtesy of a two-run double by Jake Lamb.
Meanwhile, the other likely members of our major-league bullpen were doing good work. Heath Bell, Brad Ziegler, Tony Sipp and Matt Reynolds each succeeded in putting a zero on the board, though with some widely disparate degrees of ease. Ziegler probably impressed most, striking out two of the three batters he faced; the third, as you'd expect, was a groundout. Sipp, on the other hand, had to work out of a jam, after putting men second and third with one out, ,Bradin Hagens followed suit in the eighth, but Warner Madrigal struggled to end things, being charged with three runs, and taking a liner off his wrist that led to him being pulled. Andrew Barbosa got the last out.
Fourteen hits in total for the Diamondbacks, with two apiece for Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill, but it was Pennington who had the best day, adding a single and a walk to his home-run. Eric Chavez also reached safely twice, with a hit and a walk. On the negative side of the balance sheet, Eaton was caught stealing and there was errors by both Josh Wilson and Nick Ahmed. Seemed like a bit of a small crowd, with just shy of 5,700 at SRF, but I suppose it was a Monday afternoon.
Over in Tempe, the Diamondbacks looked set to complete a double-header sweep, when they took a five-run lead over the Angels in the middle of the fourth. However, the selection of B-pitchers who were used in the game couldn't hold on to the lead, and Anaheim tied things up with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Neither team could score in the ninth, and so the archetypal spring training result - a tie - went in the books. Arizona did have the edge in hits, 13-11, but did also commit a couple of errors, and ran into their contractually obliged out on the basepaths, courtesy of Willie Bloomquist.
It started brightly, Bloomquist doubling over the head of the center fielder, and Gerardo Parra immediateky followed by cranking the first home-run for any Diamondbacks hitter, deep to right field. A.J, Pollock singled, stole second and came home on another single, off the bat of Brad Snyder with two outs, and we had a 3-0 lead. David Holmberg was the starter for us, and looked good in his one inning of work, retiring all three batters he faced, with a particularly impressive strikeout of the leadoff batter probably the highlight. I'd have liked to see more, but he was replaced by Eddie Bonine, who allowed a run in his two innings of work.
Rod Barajas appears to be making a strong case, at least offensively, to be the backup catcher. He homered, keading off the fourth - he is now 5-for-6 this spring. An RBI single by Bloomquist added another run, but Bloomquist was then out at second, trying to advance on a sacrifice fly by Parra, which did succeed in scoring a run from third, However, the Angels responded immediately, with a three-spot of their own, Zack Spruill being hit around quite roughly, though only one of the runs was earned, due to a throwing error charged to Bloomquist (Chris Owings also picked up an E).
What really doomed the D-backs in the final third was their pitchers' lack of control: Evan Marshall and Bo Schultz combined (around a scoreless frame by Garrett Mock) to walk five in their two innings of work: that included one with the bases loaded in the sixth. Things could have been even worse, as Schultz allowed the tying runs to score, and had two on base with no out in the eighth, but got a big double-play to hold it there. The Diamondbacks were set down in order during their half of the ninth; Ray Hernandez (David's brother) stranded the winning run at third base, getting Scott "death threats from SF" Cousins to strike out swinging and preserve the tie.
Two hits apiece for Bloomquist, Parra (who had three RBI), Alfredo Marte and Barajas - Parra also had a walk. A somewhat schizophrenic Gameday Thread, as people were watching three games simultaneously - the two live ones, and the tape-delayed one. snakecharmer just pipped myself and Bryan J. Boltik in the comments; also to be seen were AzDbackfanInDc, Bcawz, BrokeNBattleX, Clefo, DbacksSkins, GuruB, Incomplete Translation, John Baragona, PR151, RobbieFVK, Scottyyy, SenSurround, coreyerb, dbacks79, deerhaven, imstillhungry95 and a late-arriving pygalgia, who showed up to growl about Scott Cousins...
Back to a single game tomorrow, the Reds visiting Salt River Fields for an afternoon game. It'll be our first look at Brandon McCarthy in a game situation.