Record: 53-49. Pace: 84-80. Change over last year: +2.
It was nice to finally have a game this series where Arizona controlled early, and never let go. No need for later inning comebacks, or enduring even later inning heartaches. No, instead tonight was all-Diamondbacks, all the time.
The Diamondbacks got their offense moving early, scoring in the first inning, then cruising the rest of the way with the lead. Adam Eaton, suddenly mustache-less, took a walk to lead off the game. Aaron Hill stepped up and slammed a double into center, allowing the speedy Eaton to run through Matt Williams stop sign and score. The Diamondbacks would eventually load the bases with two more walks, but couldn't extend their lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Arizona scored another run off back-to-back ground rule doubles from Wil Nieves and Chad Pennington. The lead was extended even further in the bottom of the fifth, as Aaron Hill launched a solo homer to lead off the inning.
Wade Miley wouldn't need anymore offense than that, and in fact was just what the non-existent baseball doctors ordered after last night's extra inning debacle. Torgo watched the house while the Master was away, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up only 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks. He also struck out 4, but really the most significant thing, after pitching a fine game, was going deep enough that the beleaguered bullpen wouldn't have to work as much.
Carlos Villanueva didn't go quite as deep, and didn't look quite as sold for the Cubs. He settled down a bit after the first inning, but the D-backs worked him for over 30 pitches in the first, setting up a night that included the 3 earned runs, 6 hits, and 3 walks. He ended up only going 5 innings.
Things got a little nervy in the 9th, with Brad Ziegler in to close out the game. He gave up a lead-off double, which initially appeared to be a home run to deep center. Luckily for the D-backs, it was only out of the park because some idiot reached over the railing and caught it was his hat. Even more shocking is that Angel Hernandez's crew got the call right, ruling it a double due to fan interference. Ziegler locked down the game after that, retired the next three, gave the D-backs a series split, and turned the Moulin Rouge into a real theater.
In the odds and ends section, there were a couple almost scary moments for the D-backs. The first involved Wade Miley, who got hit with a line drive. He stayed in the game, obvs, but it couldn't have felt good. That he was able to go almost 8 innings is a testament to all of his years wrasslin gators, I'm sure. The other moment saw Martin Prado slide into second, and have Starlin Castro come crashing down on his head. Both players were fine, though.
Was there a Gameday Thread tonight? There were only 311 comments, and although that's a great band, it's not a great number. I wasn't very talkative myself, so I understand. The full roster tonight was: 4 Corners Fan, AF DBacks Fanatic, AJV19, Bryn21, Circa4life, Clefo, Diamondhacks, DirtyDanSan, Dutchfan, Fangdango, FatBoysEatMeat, GODSCHMIDT, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Majabe, Rockkstarr12, The so-called Beautiful, TolkienBard, azshadowwalker, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, cole8865, edbigghead, hotclaws, onedotfive, preston.salisbury, rd33, and xmet
The Diamondbacks home stand continues tomorrow against the Padres. First pitch is at 6:40pm Arizona time, so be sure to put that in your Palm Pilot! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go return some videotapes.