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AZ 7, Pirates 3 - Full Fathom Five, Thy Defense Lies

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Record: 26-19. Change on last season: -1

A strange night. I was anticipating being merely a spectator and running the door at this evening's IZW wrestling show, but ended up being the ring announcer. Kinda fun, if somewhat nervewracking: the main problem is, you're not supposed to show much emotion during the matches - you don't get to cheer for the good guys or boo the villains, which is half the fun of going to the damn show! Oh, well: I'll just have to be all the louder during the Pirates game tomorrow afternoon, to make up for it. Let's just hope I don't get a call from the D'backs: "Hey, Jim: heard you're coming to Chase. Counsell's knee is playing him up a bit, so bring your glove, will you?" :-)

That game will see us going for the sweep, after another victory over the Pirates, based on another solid start by our rotation. This time, it was Vargas, who went six innings, allowing five hits and two walks, and settled down nicely after allowing two runs in the first, to post zeroes thereafter. Falling behind early is never a good thing, but as in the previous two games, we kept getting runners in scoring position. Each of the first three innings, in fact, though we then went 0-for-5 with RISP.

In the fourth, however, we bypassed the problem nicely; Estrada tied the game up by homering, after Jackson had walked. And in the fifth, we took advantage of more poor defense by the Pirates: with two out, Tracy walked, and Gonzalez reached on an error, before Jackson homered to left on a 2-0 pitch from Santos, to give us a 5-2 lead. After Bay had gone deep for the second time in the game to cut our lead to two, the Pirates defense let them down once again in the eighth: two errors and a wild pitch helped bring home two more - only three of the seven runs we scored counted as earned.

After Vargas left, Vizcaino, Lyon and Medders filled in for the remaining three innings. Not perfectly - four hits and a walk - but good enough, with only Lyon's ERA getting hurt in the process. And in the ninth inning, Medders benefited from us turning another double-play to keep our streak of such things intact at fifteen games.

Counsell, Tracy, Jackson and Estrada all had two hits apiece, to maintain their memberships in the .300 club. Jackson had three RBI, and Estrada two, courtesy of their homers. The former is now tied with Tracy for second on the team in RBIs, at 29; J-Strada leads the Diamondbacks, on 31. Neither Hudson nor Gonzalez managed hits, and their respective watches continue, untroubled by significant change. Shawn Green got the night off in right field, DaVanon taking his place; he went 0-for-4, so I imagine normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Thanks to VIII, Devin, 4CornersFan, William K and Spencer, for their sterling work on the GameDay thread in my absence. Same again tomorrow afternoon guys, since I will, as noted, actually be in attendance: so those beers and hotdogs I'll be guzzling will be for the greater glory of the SnakePit. :-) The win keeps up atop the National League West by the narrowest of margins. It seems we've been stuck there or thereabouts for ages, even though we've gone 14-6 in May. However, this just parallels what most of our rivals in the NL West have done during the month:

  1. Padres: 15-7
  2. Diamondbacks: 14-6
  3. Dodgers: 14-7
  4. Giants: 11-11
  5. Rockies: 10-11

The division remains easily the tightest in baseball, with all four other teams within 2.5 games of the Diamondbacks: neither of the other NL divisions have even one team that close to the leader. I can't wait until we start playing within the division again, as until then it's harder to see someone - ideally, us - opening up any real ground. That won't be for a while though: one series versus the Giants is all we have this side of July. In contrast, the last sixteen games on the schedule are all intra-divisional.

Okay, off to bed: have a lot to get done tomorrow, what with it being a 3:40pm first pitch. Dammit, guess that means no free parking downtown for us. :-( Fangraph will, as seems to be the normal practice now, follow tomorrow.

[Morning-after update]

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Today: Jackson Jacks One on the Pirates