Tonight's matchup with the Rays may have been a number of things, but tense certainly isn't one of them. Oh, sure, it may have seemed like we were going to have a taut matchup of pitchers after the first inning, when Wade Miley went out and got three outs on seven pitches, and Jeremy Hellickson followed it by getting his outs in nine pitches. But it wasn't quite the duel that such an opening frame may have promised.
Both pitchers matched up pretty well through the next couple of innings, actually- Miley gave up a single to start the second, but stranded the runner there, while Hellickson gave up two singles in the bottom of the inning, but left the runners on base. They both gave a free baserunner in the third- a walk from Miley and a hit by pitch from Hellickson- and pulled off inning ending double plays to finish it. But the fourth was where we saw who would blink first.
It turned out to be Wade Miley. After a ground out from Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria got a hold of a change-up and launched it a few rows up in the left field bleachers. The broadcast team had been talking earlier in the game about Miley needing to work through rough innings, and Miley certainy seems to have that kind of advice in mind. He gave up a single in the inning, but got his outs and didn't let the Rays add to their lead.
Then, if Wade Miley had blinked, Jeremy Hellickson flinched. Maybe while trying to swat away a fly or something. It wasn't pretty, if you were a Rays fan.
Hellickson started the inning off poorly, handing Paul Goldschmidt a free base with a walk. Not content with just being a threat at the plate, Goldy showed off some speed on a hit-and-run play with Eric Chavez at the plate. Chavez rewarded the team's faith in his ability to put it in play by lining a double into the right field corner, letting Goldy score easily and tying the game. Aaron Hill drew the second walk of the inning for Hellickson, and then Cody Ross took a 2-2 fastball deep to left-center field for his eight home run of the season. 4-1 DBacks. The rest of the inning went fairly quietly- a single, a fielder's choice, a caught stealing that may have been a missed hit-and-run, and a ground out to end it. But it certainly wasn't the shut down inning the Rays would have liked after taking a lead.
On the other hand, Wade Miley was back to doing his work on the mound. The Rays put together back to back singles with two outs, including Jeremy Hellickson's first hit in the majors, but a line out from Ben Zobrist stranded the runners. Hellickson got two outs in the bottom of the inning before walking Paul Goldschmidt for the second time, which the Rays picked as the sign it was time to end his night. Hellickson was pulled for Jamey Wright, who didn't quite inspire much confidence either. As Goldschmidt made his move to swipe second base, Wright spiked a curveball that bounced away from Jose Lobaton, the Rays catcher, letting Goldy keep on running to take third with ease. After working to a full count, Eric Chavez lined a double to left to score Goldy easily and run the score to 5-1, Arizona.
After that, the Rays offense didn't put up much noise. A walk in the sixth they couldn't do much with, and a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. That was the end of Wade Miley's night, and he was very effective. Seven innings, five hits, only one run allowed. I'll always take something like that from a starter.
The Diamondbacks didn't do too much more during the sixth inning, with Kyle Farnsworth sending them down 1-2-3, including a strike out. But when Cesar Ramos came out in the seventh, they did a little bit more damage. Some good hustle by Adam Eaton let him beat out the throw for an infield single to reach base with one out. Martin Prado skied a ball to deep center, bouncing it off the warning track and the wall, bringing Eaton in to score and leaving Prado standing on second base. Ramos gave Goldy an intentional walk, before Eric Chavez popped into a double play, but Arizona held a 6-1 lead.
Heath Bell came in to relieve Wade Miley, and we once again got the good version of the HBE- a one out single to Ben Zobrist, but he was stranded without any trouble. Aaron Hill tried to add to the lead in the bottom of the eighth, but a nice leaping grab at the wall by Jason Bourgeois robbed Hill of both a potential home run and the means of production. Brad Ziegler came in for the ninth, and gave up a two out double to Lobaton, but struck out Bourgeois to end the game and give Arizona a win.
Wade To Go: Wade Miley (+20.7%)
Like a Ross (And I Don't Know A Pun For Chavez): Eric Chavez (+17.1%), Cody Ross (+15.5%)
Didi Minus: Didi Gregorius (-8.3%)
A nice return home after the struggles in Boston, and a decently busy thread, even if the stadium wasn't too full. Clefo led the comment race, beating out Zavada's Mustache by ten posts. Also stopping in for their unique points of view were Fangdango, FatBoysEatMeat, GODSCHMIDT, GuruB, Husk, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Marc Fournier, TolkienBard, asteroid, azshadowwalker, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, cole8865, hotclaws, kishi, onedotfive, preston.salisbury, and soco. No comment went green tonight, so instead of having a CotN here, I'd like you to take this time to think about three ways you could have made the GDT more entertaining.
Meanwhile, in Missouri, the Dodgers lost a road game to the Cardinals somehow, so we managed to pick up a game in the standings. Obviously, some sort of miscalculation, it was my understanding the Dodgers weren't allowed to lose road games. Maybe this ties in to A-Rod's appeal or something. Irregardless, the Diamondbacks will be back tomorrow night for another match up with Tampa, ending another weird two game series in the middle of the week and we'll go for the sweep.