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AZ 12, Padres 11 - The odd run in twenty-three

Record: 28-19. Change on last season: +11

This was not a game for the purists. No: this was the kind of game you get when you stagger back from the bar, set the difficulty level on MLB 2K5 to 'Easy', and play an exhibition game, with most of your attention really diverted to Showgirls, which just happens to be showing on Skinemax.

And like that film, this was thoroughly entertaining, albeit in many ways for the wrong reasons. Second baseman and shortstops miss routine groundballs. Hitters collide with first basemen. Pitchers miss the tag at first. Doubtful umpiring. Baserunners fall off the bag. Hit batters. Wild pitches. A balk. 35 players used. 30 hits, 17 strikeouts - and three AZ home runs in the same innings for the first time since 2002.

It began relatively quietly - going into the fifth, we had a 3-1 lead, thanks mostly to Tony Clark, who had a based loaded two-run double. But in that fifth, each team scored five runs, and from then on, anything could happen, and usually did. Except, perhaps, for quality relief performances. You likely know about our problems, but five members of the supposedly reliable Padres bullpen imploded for six runs in 3.2 innings, led by Otsuka, whose series line over two nights is now: 0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 ER.

Not that our pitching was much better; Halsey allowed eight hits and a walk over six innings, leading to six runs, but only one was earned, so his ERA actually dropped last night. Can't say the same for anyone else though. Lopez - ERA now 12.34 - showed why using him for any role beyond LOOGY is very dangerous, and Bruney took about the easiest save imaginable and came within 90 feet of blowing it.

A season high for hits though, with 15. We put out an adjusted lineup against lefty May: Tracy and Green replaced by Clark and Terrero respectively, and it worked well. Three each for Clark and Terrero (as well as for Clayton), with Counsell and Glaus chipping in with a pair each. It was just a shame that on a gorgeous night for baseball, with the roof open, only 20,769 saw such an entertaining - if not necessarily well-played - game of baseball.

I think we set a new record for comments last night: Otacon gets a bonus point for calling Troy Glaus's home run before the game. Thanks to William K, Dex (from Gaslamp Ball), frienetic and azpenguin for their contributions. Even though I had to miss an hour of the game for Alias finale - after last week's sneaky two-hour penultimate episode - I had a blast; can't remember the last time I enjoyed watching a game so much.

And there was I, just about to lower the Injury Threat meter, when the second MRI on Brandon Lyon's elbow revealed, "an area of concern." Specifically, some changes of the ulna collateral ligament, though everyone is being very calm about it. Given this all start with an extra day off, I feel fully justified in keeping the Injury Threat meter at Elevated for the moment. And with Bruney closing, the Save Threat meter too.

Over at Orange and Black Baseball, Daniel looks at the AZ pitching rotation, and finds plenty to like - any signs of overperformance are countered by Ortiz's wild tendencies. The bad news is, we may have to enjoy this while it lasts: according to Jayson Stark in an ESPN Insider article, "even though Vazquez is quietly and professionally going about his business, sources say he is counting down the days until he can exercise his right to force himself out of Arizona." Ouch. We'll see how this goes.