Record: 77-84. Change on previous year: +27
Seven wins in a row. When did that last happen? Get in the time-machine and let's find out...
Crank it back through the first 161 games of this season: back past our brief stays at the top of the NL West, Tony Clark's late-inning heroics, and Terrero falling for the hidden-ball trick. Then back through 2004, averting our eyes past the Brenly + Pedrique era, the fourteen-game losing streak, and only briefly glancing at RJ's perfect game. And on into the previous season, through a dismal second half (longest winning streak: four) and all the way back to June 30, 2003.
On that day, a mere 404 games ago, we pipped the Rockies 8-7 - coincidentally, also a road contest that went to extra innings - and scored the last victory in a 12-game streak. Gonzo had two homers and 5 RBI, but of the 19 players the Diamondbacks used that day, only four others beside Luis have appeared for us at any point this year. Can you name them? [Answer at the end]
Back in the dizzy heights of 2005, this was a dour struggle, the teams posting a combined eighteen straight zeroes on the board, after trading runs in the first inning. Ah, if only Vizquel hadn't been caught stealing immediately before Niekro's homer... That countered a manafactured run for us: Counsell singled, stole second, reached third on a groundout, and came home on a sac fly.
And then it became a long, hard grind: the next time either team really came close to scoring (putting a runner on third with less than two outs, for example) was when the Giants had men on the corners with one out in the eighth. But Vazquez fanned Durham and Feliz lined out - though that was the last we saw of Vazquez for the season...or perhaps ever?
If so, this was a pretty decent last hurrah for Javy. Eight innings, seven hits, three walks, but only one run allowed. He ends the year with an ERA of 4.42, which is an improvement, given it was at 11.77 after his first three appearances (14 IP, 17 ER). Since then, his ERA has been under four, albeit with several nasty bumps on the way [like the two innings, 9 earned runs outing in Atlanta on August 14!].
We were even less effective - after getting Clayton to third, albeit with Vazquez at the plate, with two out in the second, we didn't get another man past second base until Clayton doubled Shawn Green home to score the winning run in the eleventh inning. Clayton had half of our eight hits, while Counsell added two, back leading-off after Gonzo's brief stint there yesterday. However, Glaus went 0-for-5 and is ending the season down, 3-for-27.
The spoils went to our bullpen once more, with three perfect innings between Worrell, Medders and Valverde: Medders got the win and Valverde had to work a little harder for his save today, than the one-pitch outing yesterday. But only a little harder, the eleventh innings taking him a whole five pitches to get through.
Thanks to Otacon for the sole comment on the game - though since I forgot all about it until the ninth inning, I can't really criticize anyone else for not showing up. Maybe more tomorrow for the season finale? It's another afternoon game, and I'll be late getting there, since we're going to the movies (The History of Violence), but should be here for the last couple of frames!
The victory yesterday (it now being after midnight!) guarantees second place is ours, and all that's left now is that final game, when Brandon Webb goes for his fifteenth win - though having already doubled his win total from last year, he can't be too concerned. An eight-game winning streak would be a very nice present to take into the offseason.
[The five survivors from the last time we had a seven-game winning streak, in June 2003, are: Gonzalez, Valverde, Cintron, Villarreal and McCracken. Hammock also played that day, but has not appeared for the Diamondbacks this year.]