This game did not start off well. Randall Delgado got into more than a bit of first inning trouble. Two batters into the game it was 1-0
Devil Rays thanks to back to back doubles by Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce. The fun didn't stop there as a two out double by Yunel Escobar also scored a run to make it 3-0 before the Diamondbacks even took any swings.
Rays starter Chris Archer got into a bit of a Danger Zone in the first inning as well. Adam Eaton and Martin Prado got on base to lead off the game, and Paul Goldschmidt singled home Eaton to make it 3-1 with runners at first and third with nobody out. However, an ill-advised hit and run with Eric Chavez hitting and Paul Goldschmidt running got two quick outs and an Aaron Hill popup on the next pitch after that ended the threat. Kelly
Fast-forward to the bottom of the third. Delgado walked to leadoff the inning and two batters later Prado made Archer's authority not recognized in Fort Kickass by blasting a two-run shot to tie the game. One batter later and Archer was taken out of the game with forearm stiffness, reported as a precautionary measure. Alex Torres, who had a .26 ERA coming into this game, and promptly gave up a single to Chavez and a double to Hill to make it 4-3 Diamondbacks.
With nobody on and one out in the top of the fourth, Didi Gregorius helped start a spectacular double play from his back to get two outs and clear the bases. This was important, as the next batter, former Diamondback great Kelly Johnson, hit a solo shot to make it 4-3 Rays.
Good news, everybody! In the top of the fifth, Kyle Farnsworth came in to pitch for the Rays. He got pissy about the conditions of the mound and delayed the game for a bit, and then gave up a leadoff single to Eaton. So worth it, wasn't it, Kyle? Martin Prado followed with a double to make runners at second and third with no outs. After a hard hit, but lined out, ball by Goldy, Farnsworth was replaced by Jake McGee. Eric Chavez singled, Aaron Hill doubled, and Wil Nieves hit a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 7-4 D'Backs when that inning was said and done.
That ended Delgado's day, and Josh Collmenter came in to pitch the sixth. He got through it cleanly. He then came on to pitch the seventh. That, not so much. Jose Molina singled up the middle on a ball that Aaron Hill got to, and had designs on throwing Molina out, but inertia made him run into Didi Gregorius and he was not able to make the play. Pinch-Hitter Luke Scott looked in his survivalist guide and it told him to beat a lefty shift by bunting it to the third base side for a hit. Zobrist grounded one to third that he just beat out at first to avoid an inning ending double play.
This was important to the game, because the seventh inning went to crap after that. Josh Collmenter got ahead 0-2 against Matt Joyce, he of the .240 batting average this season, and then threw four straight pitches that were not close. He was lifted for Will Harris. Will's only pitch of the game was to Evan Longoria, who laced a double that scored two runs to make it 7-6 Diamondbacks.
Of note: Announced as a pinch hitter for the hot Wil Myers (lolRoyals), was the not very hot Sam Fuld. Later, it would be revealed that Myers had some asthma flare up which is not fun at all, but it seemed like a good opportunity for the Diamondbacks to bring in new toy Joe Thatcher and get the lefty Fuld out. Thatcher threw a pretty good pitch, but Sam Fuld displayed an ability to hit pretty good pitches that had yet to be seen in his career and singled in two more runs to make it 8-7 Rays. Thatcher got noted D'Back killer James Loney to fly out, but the damage was done and I was kinda cranky at this point. I WASN'T EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TODAY.
Bottom of the eighth, and the penultimate chance for the D'Backs offense. With one out, Didi drew a walk, this was followed by a Gerardo Parra pinch hit single. This caused the Rays to bring in closer and tilted-hat enthusiast Fernando Rodney in to shut things down. Except he didn't. Eaton drew a walk after a few aborted squeeze attempts to bring up Martin Prado with the bases loaded and one out.
Let me tell you something: Tonight, Martin Prado was a destroyer of worlds, a conqueror of all, and flayer of minds, etc. Prado looped a pitch to right from Rodney which scored Didi and Parra and the Diamondbacks took the lead!
It was held on by a thread, though. Brad Ziegler came in to close with three lefties and Evan Longoria due up. After getting the first out, Zobrist singled and Joyce walked to bring up Longoria. It was the right time for the sixth double play of the game, which would break a team record. Longoria hit one up the middle that was stopped by a diving Aaron Hill, who flipped it to Didi, who in turn was able to get the throw into first to end the game! A Diamondbacks sweep and the first winning series since the All-Star break!
The Dane Cook Of Martial Arts: Thatcher, -29.5%