Record: 15-11. Change on last season: +2. Pace: 93-69
Quote of the day: "I just wanted to make sure. I was trying to be the first person ever to get about five outs." -- Troy Tulowitski of the Rockies, on throwing to first after he completed the 13th unassisted triple-play in major-league history.
Yawn. Another day, another come-from-behind, one-run victory in which our closer left the tying run on base - third with one out here - in the bottom of the ninth. I'm beginning to get used to those now: I just hope the cardiac arrest holds off until the acclimatization has completed. Remember those 7-1 blowouts in the Washington series? Seems like they happened to another team - or in another season, at least. Since then, we've won eleven games: the biggest margin of victory is only three runs - and one of those still took twelve innings.
I suppose the big news was Randy Johnson's second start being a great deal better than his first: Game Score of 52, compared to 34 last time. His control was significantly better, it seemed, with only one walk and no hit batters (four and two, respectively), and he pitched six innings, scattering seven hits and striking out five. Still not quite vintage Johnson, but as with all our starting pitchers, he kept us in the game. According to his "personal catcher", Robby Hammock, there was a game-plan change, with fewer sliders and more splitters, but he was still spent after 95 pitches by the end of the sixth.
Meanwhile the offense had struggled to take advantage of a woeful Matt Morris, who had been hanging breaking balls throughout the first three innings. However, the D-backs charitably helped him out, by having one man thrown out at home and another caught stealing third. The point of taking such risks escapes me, when the opposing starting pitcher is having such a miserable time. And Morris fought through it until the seventh, when the Giants bullpen was slow getting up, and five straight D-backs reached with one out. Hudson's ground-ball down the left-field line plated two, the key blow in the game.
The bullpen keep such a two-run lead? I don't think so. Tony Peña brought San Franciso one run closer in the eighth, and with Valverde unavailable after pitching in three straight games, we turned to Brandon Lyon to get the close. A walk to the pinch-hitting Bazza, and two singles loaded the bases with one out, but he got Vizquel and Aurilia to pop-up, to escape in a truly Houdini-like fashion. As noted yesterday, Lyon has a habit of that: it's now 18 base-runners in 11.1 innings, and only a single earned-run.
A whole bunch of multi-hit games to report: two each for Slots 1-4 in the order [Young, Drew, Hudson and Tracy], as well as Quentin in the seven-hole. It's good to see some of these averages reaching decent levels: Young is above the Uecker line for only the second day this year, Drew is up to .264 (though he did make a pair of errors), and Tracy is now a very healthy .293, with an OPS of .874. Byrnes got the day off, as anticipated, and hopefully that'll allow him to recharge his batteries.
And so, we sweep the Giants here, as they swept us there, and go one "better"; while their total margin of victory was four, all three of our win were by a single-run. Present in the thread were suitsmetoATnT, DBACKS KICK ARSE, unnamedDBacksfan, leemellon, VIII, Muu, singaporedbacksfan, peeklay, Goose, seton hall snake pit and Ben.
Five in a row, to match the five-game losing streak. We're right back where we were after the first game in San Diego: four games above .500, and in second place, half a game behind the Dodgers. We may be without Jackson for a couple of days: he cut his index finger, getting spiked on a headlong slide into home plate in the second inning. X-rays were taken, but proved negative, though two stitches in the finger were required.