There may have been some worry of giving the Pirates an early lead, letting them take another advantage over the team. Starling Marte started the game off with a double to our own Alfredo Marte, Starling's fifth hit of the series, and a bit of a wave of "oh no, not again" washed over us all. But, before you could succesfully verify that you weren't actually a bowl of petunias, the outfield defense stepped in. A.J. Pollock and Gerardo Parra both made great plays in the outfield to snag balls that might have otherwise brought Starling in to score, and Wade Miley gave us a clean first inning.
The Diamondbacks got a one-out double in the bottom of the first from A.J. Pollock, who didn't even need to wait for his own teammates to bring him in to score. Trying to steal third, Pollock looked like he would be picked off. But the throw from Sanchez went wild, and Pollock came around to score easily, giving the Diamondbacks the lead. And that wasn't Sanchez's only mistake of the inning. He followed it with a walk to Martin Prado, and Paul Goldschmidt singled to center to put runners at the corners. A ground out from Montero scored Prado, and then a double from Alfredo Marte to Starling Marte brought Goldschmidt in to move the lead to three. Sanchez got a visit on the mound from his pitching coach, which is never a good sign in the first inning, but he struck out Cliff Pennington to end the inning.
But it didn't get much better from the Pirates there. Wade Miley sent them down 1-2-3 in the top of the second, and then Sanchez started the bottom of the inning with a walk to Josh Wilson. Miley set down a sac bunt to advance the runner, and a single by Gerardo Parra gave Arizona runners at the corners. But not for long, as A.J. Pollock took a 2-1 fastball deep to left field, putting up his first home run of the season to give the Diamondbacks 6-0 lead and awarding us tacos in the first inning. The Diamondbacks tried to add on, getting the bases loaded from a Prado single, a Montero walk, and an Alfredo Marte HBP, but Sanchez got Pennington to fly out and end the inning.
The third inning went down quietly, 1-2-3 on both sides, but the Pirates put together a little offense in the fourth to break the shutout. Andrew McCutchen started it with a one out walk, went to second on a Gaby Sanchez single, and took third on a sac fly from Russell Martin. Josh Harrison singled to left field to bring McCutchen in and the Pirates had their first run of the game.
In the bottom of the inning, A.J. Pollock thought that looked like a lot of effort for just one run, and showed off his own solution- lead off the inning with a home run to left center field, Pollock's second of the game. That works, too. After a ground out from Prado, Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk, followed by a single from Miguel Montero, ending Jonathan Sanchez's outing for the day. Well, the Pirates had to be hopeful that whoever they ran out would be more on target, right? Chris Leroux took the mound, and... Walked Afredo Marte to load the bases. Hoping he was just shaking off some rust, he then... Walked Cliff Pennington on four pitches to bring in a run. And then walked Josh Wilson on four pitches to bring in a run. Wade Miley grounded out to short, bringing in the fourth run of the inning before a swinging K from Parra ended the pain, and the Diamondbacks took the field again with a 10-1 lead.
After that, the Diamondbacks pretty much called it a day. But when you've hit double digits in runs, I guess you can't blame them. They managed a runner on third with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Wade Miley grounded into an inning ending double play. The Pirates offense really only made any noise in the top of the seventh inning. A leadoff double by Michael McKenry gave them a runner in scoring position, but two quick outs made it look like Miley might escape damage. But walks to former DBack John McDonald and pinch hitter Neil Walker gave Pittsburgh a bases loaded situation. Starling Marte bounced a single to Martin Prado, bringing in a run. That was the end of Miley's day, and Brad Ziegler came in to get the third out and end the inning. Ziegler sent down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the eighth, and J.J. Putz got three strikeouts to finish the game in the ninth, giving the Diamondbacks a win.
Deep Sea Success: A.J. Pollock (+20.8%)
Rocking the Boat: Wade Miley (+11.3%)
Keelhauled: Cliff Pennington (-2.2%)
When your lowest WPA is only -2.2% and only one other player is even in negatives (at a -0.1%), that's a good day. Just revel in that chart for a minute. Ah.
Not the busiest of GDTs, but that's to be expected with the afternoon game, I suspect. snakecharmer took the crown for today's count, just shy of 50, with benhat in second and SongBird (commenting from the game?) in third. Also chirping in were AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Britback, Circa4life, Clefo, Gildo, GuruB, Incomplete Translation, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Muu, SwankTheTank, TolkienBard, Turambar, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azcougs, dbacks79, ford.williams.10, imstillhungry95, jmh1982, kishi, mrssoco, onedotfive, and txzona.
With the game finished before midnight, we can relax and look forward to the day off tomorrow. The Dodgers come into town on Friday, kicking off our divisional play for the season.