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AZ 8, Orioles 4 - The Tao of Dinah

Record: 39-30. Change on last season: +4. Pace: 92-70.

Quote of the day: "We've been having fun, but I guess after you lose a few in a row, you start pressing a little more. After these last couple games, you can tell out there that we're a lot more loose and having a lot more fun now." -- Chris Young

As the great philosopher Dinah Washington once sang, "What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four little hours brought the sun and the flowers, where there used to be rain." And, in barely any longer than that, the Diamondbacks have turned their frowns upside-down. First a stirring come-back, featuring heroics from O-Dawg and a homer by Ojeda in his first game since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and then today, Edgar Gonzalez, on short rest, pitches five innings of two-hit ball, while the offense goes deep, smacking three homers.

Yes, life is good. Particularly when I'm combining work, pleasure and a bottle of Stella Artois. This entry is brought to you courtesy of the Paper Heart Gallery in downtown Phoenix where, thanks to the joys of wi-fi, I'm running the door for tonight's comedy double-header. That features the Galapagos Improv and Trash City's Hot Summer Nights stand-up show. Hurry down, you can still make it. [Mrs. SnakePit appreciates a free plug. :-)] But it's amazing how a season, which looked doomed to damnation and eternal destruction as late as the eighth inning on Friday, is now back on the rails. Back-to-back wins, and were a game out of first, with our ace taking the mounds tomorrow, giving us a chance of a sweep and going 3-3 on the toad rip. Okay, that was a heinous mis-spelling, but I'm leaving it, since it looks kinda cute. I'm in that kind of a mood tonight.

Credit today has to go to Edgar Gonzalez, who answered the call and gave us five, very solid innings as an emergency start. He was helped by the Orioles' hitters swinging early, so it only took 63 pitches for him to get through those innings. And the hitters backed him up, with homers for Hairston, Young and Tracy rushing Arizona out to a 5-0 lead in the middle of the third. However, Baltimore wouldn't die: they pipped one back in the bottom of the third, and it was the turn of our bullpen to struggle today, after EdGon's day was over.

Cruz coughed up a two-run homer, continuing his recent struggles - since May 25, he's pitched eight innings, and has allowed twelve hits, six walks, and eight earned runs. That made it 5-3, and Peguero's perfect record was also shattered: he faced three hitters, retired only one, and was charged with a run on a sacrifice fly, given up by the pitcher after next. Slaten first gave up a single, then Lyon came in to get the last two outs, with the tying run at second. The eighth was equally tense: Baltimore had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but a pair of groundouts preserved the lead.

We girded our loins - or those of our chosen life-partners, if necessary - and prepared for the "joys" of Jose Valverde coming in to defend a one-run lead in the ninth. However, most fans would probably admit, the scoring of additional runs in the top of the ninth probably came as a major relief, avoiding a spike in the sales of antacid around Phoenix. Helped by a burst of ineffectiveness by the Baltimore bullpen, Arizona tacked on three insurance runs, two on a Montero single, to relieve the tension and lead to loins being ungirded, all across Arizona. Pena pitched the ninth instead, allowing a harmless walk.

A lightly-trafficked but generally cheerful bunch in the Gameday Thread - we were 2-0 up by the time of the first post, which always helps tempers. hotclaws, AZDarkKnight, dahlian, soco and DbacksSkins were the contributors, with dahlian slightly grumpy about BoMel's BullMan - as in bullpen management. I must admit, it's generally been the use of the pitchers which has aggrieved me: in general, it's been starters stayed with too long, and relievers yanked too quickly. Mind you, given results like this game, it seems he has to roll the lineup dice until he finds a bullpen arm that works today.

Gameday Graph

[Click graph to enlarge, in new window]
Master of his domain: Brandon Lyon, +29.3%
God-emperor of suck: Doug Slaten, -10.7%

Yes - Lord, what a difference a day made! There's a rainbow before me, skies above can't be stormy since that moment of bliss. Here's to more of the same tomorrow.