Record: 29-21 Change on last season: +11
Okay, we won. I don't have to track down the seven sacred daggers of Meggido and kill Britney Spears...yet.
But really. We manage two hits in five innings thrown by a Double-A pitcher, and are outhit 12-5 overall. We get a triple because an opposing player throws his glove at the ball, the first career home run from Vazquez, and have the benefit of some, er, interesting umpiring decisions in the ninth before Kelly Stinnett, in his first major-league at-bat of the year, gets walked without taking the lumber off his shoulder.
This is not a game we won. This is not even a game the Dodgers lost. This is a game that was gift-wrapped and placed under the tree, with a label saying, "Do Not Open Until December 25." First of all, we went 2-for-17 against Thompson, with Terrero and Gonzalez the only people to solve him. Perhaps there was method in LA's apparent madness - or perhaps they looked at the stats and saw Arizona can't hit lefties for toffee. [We're batting .248 against them; the opposition, .289]
Did wonder if Cruz's scratch from the line-up was back problems, or because he's hitting .133 against left-handers this year. However, he's better over his career, and the move meant almost no alternative but Green in right - he's also finding left-handed pitching very hard to hit in 2005, and is historically almost forty points worse against them. Terrero played in place of Cruz, and hopefully two hits (including his pitcher-assisted triple!) will have cemented his position as our fourth outfielder, rather than Quinton McCracken.
Then there was Vazquez, who extended his walkless streak to a franchise-record 46 innings, though allowed 10 hits and four runs over seven innings, his first non-quality start since April 14th. But his heroics in the bottom of the seventh will likely be what he remembers here. He's no rabbit, possessing a career .214 average, but that was his first home-run, in his 384th at-bat. "I don't know man, I just hit it," Vazquez said, with rare eloquence [where's Miguel Batista when you need him?]. "I knew I hit it well, but I thought it was a double or something."
He did go back out to the mound in the eighth, but was pulled after throwing his warmup tosses. Said Melvin, "I am not going to let him go out there and one guy gets on base, go get him, make him suck up a loss. After an emotional home run like that, you are out of sorts a little bit." Vazquez got a curtain call from the 33,725 at the game; that's the largest crowd at BOB since Opening Day, probably helped by the Maytag Store Bottle Jersey giveaway. Most in attendance were likely expecting actualy jerseys. :-)
The ninth - again, after they had to close the roof because of another dust storm - was equally wild. Clark led off with another clutch double; Green was walked; Terrero reached on an error from his sac bunt, though the Dodgers swore he was running outside of the basepath and should have been called out. That loaded the bases for Stinnett, who had been called up from Tucson just before the game, in exchange for Koyie Hill's long-expected demotion. The Dodgers were equally peeved at the umpire's calls during Stinnett's at-bat. "I thought I threw three pitches right there for strikes," said Carrara. "I don't even get one. The only strike I get was a low pitch, everything else was balls." Boo-hoo.
It didn't pull us any closer to the Padres, however, since they beat the Giants, but at least it gives us a chance to take the series and come away with a 3-3 home stand. That game is about to get underway, so I'm heading right over to do the GameDay Thread. Don't touch that dial!