Record: 24-18. Change on last season: -1
Let's see... Think that's the most runs we've scored in a game since September 13th, 2003 [16-6 vs. Col]. It ties the record for the biggest margin of victory in franchise history [April 17th, 2001; 17-4 vs. StL, Game 6 of the 2001 World Series; 15-2 vs. NYY, and June 2nd, 1999; 15-2 vs. Mon]. Biggest shutout victory in franchise history. Complete game, four-hitter, by our ace. Who also drove in three RBIs. In front of the largest crowd since Opening Day.
Yes, it's probably safe to say that tonight's game went about as well as could possibly have been expected. Six hitters had multi-hit games (Tracy, Gonzalez, Jackson, Estrada, Hudson, and Byrnes - the last named had three), and Shawn Green was the only starter without a hit and an RBI. After three innings where the teams traded zeroes, we scored two in the fourth and two in the fifth. And then we kept pushing the whole way: six more runs plated in the seventh, and we iced the cake with three in the eighth.
Amusingly, that late explosion came off two former Arizona pitchers, in Lance Cormier and Oscar Villarreal - remember them? They both came in with solid records (Villarreal actually had as many wins as Webb!), but allowed nine hits, five walks and nine earned runs in three innings of work. I believe the word is "Pwned", in modern teen-speak. :-)
Perhaps the highlight was in the seventh when Webb came up, for the second time in consecutive innings, with the bases loaded. The first time, he struck out, but this time, he launched a bomb to left that almost became Webb's first ever homerun - and did clear the bases, giving him a career high in RBI with seven. He now leads the National League in pitcher's RBIs.
While immensely gratifying, I imagine he would likely be equally delighted by his pitching performance. He joined Randy Johnson (v.2000 - whatever happened to him? If you find out, George Steinbrenner would sure like to know...) as the only Diamondbacks to go 7-0, in his fourth complete game, allowing four singles and one walk, while fanning eight. He avoided the handfuls of hits that littered his previous two outs, the Braves batting only .133 off him tonight. And a masterful 20:1 ground-out/fly-out ratio.
Hudson did, at least, break his RBI-less streak, so that one gets reset. Mind you, there's no chance of it being retired while he has the same number as Brandon Webb, who only gets to play every fifth day. I also have to say, we did hit into three double-plays, and should have scored earlier (Jackson reached third with only one out in the second). While these failures were meaningless in the long run, I'd be happier if we didn't indulge in them at all. But I say these things only to give the pretense of "balance". We killed tonight, there's no other way of putting it.
An excellent crowd at the ballpark, 35,382, no doubt attracted by the Johnny Estrada bobblehead doll giveaway. No word on whether it is, in typical J-Strada style, hacking at the first pitch. ;-) As on Friday, the attendees should have gone away happy, and even more impressed tonight. It was perhaps the best all-round performance from the Diamondbacks since Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, when we pounded out 22 hits off Andy Pettitte. Yes, it was that damn impressive.
And, for a third game in a row, a record number of comments, so thanks to all those who chipped in: Devin, VIII, Ben, azshadowwalker, npineda, William K, Otacon (whose "Holy Shit" was, I feel, a pithy summary of group feelings at Webb's hit!), frienetic, Spencer, and dahlian. Though I suspect the last-named only turned up to gloat over facing me - and Juan Cruz's 121.50 ERA - in the fantasy baseball this week. :-)
And this time, we stay on top of the division for more than a day. Though everyone in the division bar the Padres won, so we didn't exactly open up any kind of gap. Fangraph to follow tomorrow, but here's an artist's impression of what it's basically going to look like:
[Morning-after edit] And now, here's the real thing. I think I came pretty close, for someone with no actual artistic talent... :-)
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Today: Score, score and score again