Record: 8-11. Pace: 68-94. Change on last season: -6
The Diamondbacks finally won back-to-back games for the first time this season, riding another fine outing by Dan Haren, some timely hitting - not least also by Haren - and stealing five bases in a game for the first time since 2007. Ted Lilly was taken apart by a four-run fourth inning, which featured a pair of RBI doubles with two outs by Haren and Chris Young.
However, let's not forget a key plate-appearance by Justin Upton earlier, that let the inning turn into a large, crucial one for the Diamondbacks. He slapped the ball to third, where Cubs fielder Fontenot played it, sitting back a bit, and then took just too much time to throw to first, letting Upton leg out a hit. After Chris Snyder walked to load the bases, Haren hit a chopper that bounced over the despairing grab of the same third-baseman, giving Arizona the lead, and Young's drive to left center completed the game. Lilly - while not tossing his glove around - was clearly unhappy. And who can blame him, Yahoo! giving him more earned runs allowed than runs...
It was that kind of a night for the Cubs, with everything that could go right for the Diamondbacks going their way. When Mark Reynolds stole third, the ball popped out of Fontenot's glove, just as the umpire signaled our player out, and the call was reversed. That started a cascade of Arizona base-runners whizzing around the bases. Young took third-base twice, standing up, while Reynolds, Conor Jackson and Ryan Roberts all swiped second - the five stolen bases were the fifth time in franchise history the mark had been reached:
May 19, 2000 at Mets: seven SB
August 3, 2000 vs. Braves: six
April 26, 2002 at Marlins: five
September 4, 2007 vs. Padres: five
Ironic that all this frenetic activity took place the evening after I discussed our aggression on the base-paths, and how it wasn't reflected in our stolen-base numbers. I have to say, the ratio there looks a lot better after tonight (11-6) than it did coming into the game (6-5).
Dan Haren = teh awesum. After a solo homer to Soriano lead off the first, it looked this might be the night the wheels came off, as the Cubs had a good number of long, loud outs. But he got better as he went on, and retired 22 of the next 23 hitters faced, the only exception being a single to Lilly. Haren allowed another solo shot to Fontenot in the eighth, then carved up the Cubs - his demolition of Bradley on three pitches was immaculate [or, as I said in the comments, 'Milton Bradley goes Kerplunk']. Fukudome was similarly dismissed to end the contest, for our first complete game of the season, on Haren's 111th pitch of the night. Three hits, no walks and ten strikeouts, though the two runs did send his ERA 'soaring' to 1.54 - it's the first April complete game by any Arizona pitcher in more than five years, since RJ on April 16, 2004.
The Diamondbacks tied things up with Chris Snyder's first homer of the season - now, that is the correct way to answer those critical of the way the offense has been hitting, not saying, "What we do is hard...it’s not like we’re trying to strike out." Still some issues with a number of chances with runners in scoring position early on, such as the Reynolds' double leading off the second - he ended up thrown out at home on a failed sacrifice fly from Upton. But all told, this was a solid performance, quite probably the best of the season to date for us. Snyder added two walks to his long ball, Young added a couple of hits while Augie Ojeda and Mark Reynolds each had a hit and a walk.
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Master of his domain: Dan Haren [pitching], +21.9%
Honorable mention: Haren [hitting], +17.7%; Snyder, +14.5%;
Young, +11.5; Reynolds, +11.1%
God-emperor of suck: Eric Byrnes, -8.1%
Yes, Haren's pitching was the star, but this may be the first time the same player has been #1 and #2 as far as our Win Percentage goes. Definitely the most cheerful and upbeat Gameday Thread in quite a while, with a very solid number of comments, ending at almost 700. 'Skins and 'charmer powered it, with luckycc the most prolific non-editor. Also present: kishi, Tooch27, friendly visiting fan dtpollitt, hotclaws, the nomadic pierzynskirules, luckycc, Pyromnc, TwinnerA, Sprankton, emilylovesthedbacks, ol Pete, AJforAZ, mrssoco, venomfan, Muu, IHateSouthBend, Snake Bitten and chem.