Not quite as close a poll for the second of the 2009 'Pitties. The B-bullpen of Jon Rauch, Esmerling Vasquez, Clay Zavada and Leo Rosales swept majestically to a collective victory, for their nine innings of no-hit ball in the marathon against the Padres. The same game is also nominated in this week's category.
One of the good things about baseball having a 162-game schedule is that, even in a disappointing year like the Diamondbacks experienced in 2009, there will still be contests which we remember with great fondness [contrast any 'Game of the Year' poll for the Detroit Lions last season, which I imagine made kinda wretched reading...] Arizona still won 70 games, and included among them were blowouts, squeakers, comebacks, slugfests, pitching duels and marathons.
After the jump, you'll find our selection of the five best games of the 2009 season described in detail - the link goes to the recap of the contest in question.
May 16th: Max finally tastes victory, vs. ATL
Only twice since 2002 has the team scored a dozen or more and shutout the opposition - oddly, both times were against the Braves. Here, a 12-0 victory was important, not just for the offensive outburst, but because it gave Max Scherzer his first career win, in his fourteenth start. However, it was only late on that it became a sure thing: when he was lifted for a PH in the seventh, after six innings of four-hit ball, it was only 3-0 to Arizona. However, the offense then piled onto the Atlanta bullpen, tagging them fror nine earned runs over the final seven outs, capped by Chris Snyder's grand-slam in the ninth. This was the largest winning margin for the Diamondbacks since 2006.
May 23rd: biggest comeback of the year, vs. OAK
Arizona had more than their fair share of opposition recoveries inflicted on them in 2009 (44 blown leads in all, ahead only of Washington in the NL), but this was our biggest comeback of the year. We trailed the A's 5-1 going into the eighth, having been stifled by, of all people, former D-back Edgar Gonzalez. However, another ex-Arizonan, veteran Russ Springer, was tagged for three runs without retiring a batter, and we tied things up on a two-run Chad Tracy double. We scored three times in the 11th, but Chad Qualls made it interesting, allowing two runs to score and putting the tying run on third with one out. A ground-ball double-play allowed him and Arizona to escape, 8-7.
June 7th: the game without end, vs SDP
I think the fangraph is all we need here, as we blew a 6-0 lead, allowing five runs in the ninth, then traded zeroes with San Diego until the 18th, where Mark Reynolds' three-run shot off a utility infielder won it for the Diamondbacks, five hours and 45 minutes after the first pitch. Madness? This is Petco!
August 15th: the late, late show, vs. LAD
Jonathan Broxton came into the ninth with 25 saves in 29 opportunities, and having allowed just two home runs in his previous 97 innings, going all the way back to June 2008. With a 3-1 lead - Hiroki Kuroda having out-duelled Doug Davis - things looked bleak for the home outfit, especially after Gerardo Parra's K reduced our WP to 5%. However, Mark Reynolds then deposited the first delivery he saw into the bleachers, and three pitches later, Miguel Montero followed suit, tying the game up. Parra then redeemed himself, driving in the winning run with one down in the bottom of the tenth, sealing the Diamondbacks' first series victory over the Dodgers for more than a year.
August 29th: Garland and Upton and Reynolds, oh my! vs. HOU
Seven shutout innings from Jon Garland - not just his best start in a Diamondbacks' jersey, but also his last before getting traded to LA. Mark Reynolds became the first Arizona batter since 2001 to hit forty home-runs in a season. And Justin Upton hit his 21st blast, four days after no longer being 21 himself. On Luis Gonzalez Appreciation Day and in front of the fourth-biggest home crowd of the year to that point, the D-backs rolled to a 9-0 win over the Astros. This was SnakePitFest 2: Clay Zavada pitched a scoreless eighth in front of the mustached ranks of the Zavada Brigade and team president Derrick Hall stopped by to say hello. Yeah, not too bad a day, all told...