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The 2008 'Pitties: Game of the Year

With Max Scherzer having won the expected massive victory as Rookie of the Year - getting 75% of the votes - it's time to move on to the next of the 'Pitties. The season may have ended without a division title or play-off baseball, but we still had 82 victories in the season, covering a wide range of outcomes. There were blowouts, squeakers and late comebacks; dominant pitching and powerful hitting. But which was the best victory of the season? Here's one choice for each month of the season. Links take you to the box-score, in a new window.

April 27: Diamondbacks 2, Padres 1 - Duel in the Crown
Our offense flourished in the first month, but this game was won by Brandon Webb, beating Jake Peacy, proving he was still among the best pitchers in the league. Webb allowed only an unearned run over six innings, and the bullpen closed it out with three hitless frames. Meanwhile, Chris Snyder provided all the offense we would need - or get - homering to left-center with two outs in the second, to score both himself and Stephen Drew. The victory put Arizona six games ahead in the division after the first four weeks, and things wouldn't get much better than that.

May 23: Diamondbacks 11, Braves 1 - The return of Doug Davis
While I could have picked his last game before the removal of his cancerous thyroid, his triumphant return to the rotation, less than seven weeks later, was perhaps more emotionally fulfilling. Five different players homered; the offense gave DD five runs of support before he took the mound, and that was more than enough. For Davis was imperious, allowing only five hits - all singles - and two walks in seven innings of work, with just one run resulting. Arizona cruised to victory, the margin matching the highest they'd have all year.

June 13: Diamondbacks 1, Royals 0 - The long good night
Probably the tensest contest of 2008, as Chad Tracy's 10th-inning shot provided the Diamondbacks with their only walk-off homer of the season. Doug Davis and Zach Greinke threw seven scoreless innings apiece, despite combining for eleven walks, and the teams left twenty-one men on base. It took 279 pitches before the first man crossed home-plate - just one National League game was scoreless for longer this year. Only once before in Diamondbacks history had a game been 0-0 after nine innings, and we went on to win 1-0 - the mammoth 18-inning game in May 2001 against the Giants.

July 3: Diamondbacks 6, Brewers 5 - The team that wouldn't die
This might be one of those games that, in fifty years time, a million people claim to have attended. The truth is, only 23,842 were inside Chase to see perhaps the greatest comeback in team history. With a win expectancy of 0.9% in the bottom of the ninth, it was all but over: however, seven straight Diamondbacks reached base, on six hits and a walk, and three Milwaukee pitchers couldn't stop the bleeding. Conor Jackson singled home Justin Upton, to complete what was easily the most unlikely victory of the season.

August 23: Diamondbacks 7, Marlins 1 - SnakePitFest!
Hey, you had to be there. The first group outing to a game at Chase was a marvellous success, with almost fifty 'Pitters and DBBPers gathered down the right-field line and waving pom-poms, courtesy of Mrs. SnakePit. Aside from great company and chat, they also got to enjoy a Q+A with Josh Byrnes before the game, Yusmeiro Petit and three relievers combine on a three-hitter, and Olympic gold medallist Misty May-Treanor showing us her, er, baubles. ;-) Really, days don't get very much better than that.

September 2: Diamondbacks 2, Rockies 1 - The last of Randy?
The best was saved for last, with the 162nd game of the season showcasing a vintage performance by the Big Unit. Johnson had his first nine-inning outing for more than three years, restricting the Rockies to two hits, one walk and a single unearned run, in what could be his last appearance ever in an Arizona uniform. A home-run by Chad Tracy in the eighth, got Randy off the hook for the loss, and a walk-off walk in the bottom of the ninth then gave Arizona a winning record for the year, and Johnson his 295th career victory.