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Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 0 - Saunders Sizzles in Miami

Joe Saunders mowed down the Miami Marlins in a complete game shutout. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Joe Saunders mowed down the Miami Marlins in a complete game shutout. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Record: 10-10; Pace: 81-81; Change on 2011: +2

The first stop on the Diamondbacks' three-city East Coast road trip is the brand new Marlins Park in Miami. (Anybody want to take bets on how long it stays without a corporate naming sponsor?) The Diamondbacks sent Joe Saunders to the hill against our old friend, Carlos Zambrano. (Have we played Game 4 yet?)

All Joe Saunders did was go out there and mow down Marlins hitters like he was eating them for dinner. Saunders threw a complete game, 3-hit shutout in 116 pitches. The Diamondbacks provided plenty of offense for Joe by way an early 2-0 lead, which they extended to 5-0 throughout the game.

Read on for more details on the fabulous outing by Joe Saunders and the Diamondbacks.

Final - 4.27.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 15 0
Miami Marlins 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
WP: Joe Saunders (2 - 1)
LP: Carlos Zambrano (0 - 2)

Complete Coverage >

The Diamondbacks got on the board early against Zambrano. With two out in the first, Zambrano hit Justin Upton square in the left elbow on a pitch that looked fairly intentional. Revenge is best served on the scoreboard, so of course, Justin Upton came around to score the first run of the game on a single by Miguel "Not The Microwave*" Montero. In the second inning, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with nobody out on a single by Aaron Hill and back-to-back walks to Lyle Overbay and Ryan Roberts. Joe Saunders, always a team player, hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hill to make it 2-0. Willie Bloomquist then loaded the bases again with a single, but Gerardo Parra struck out and Upton flew out to deep center field.

In the third inning, Zambrano gave up another single to Jason Kubel, and after a double play, two more singles to Hill and Overbay, but Roberts ended the inning without adding to the lead. At this point, Zambrano had given up seven hits, two walks and hit a batter, and only two of those baserunners had scored. Normally when this happens to the Diamondbacks, karma tends to come back in the later innings and say "See, you really should've scored more runs when you had the chance," especially with Zambrano having a 1-2-3 4th inning and throwing only five pitches in the 5th (around another Jason Kubel single).

But Joe Saunders said "Don't worry, I have my A-game today." He had an A+ game today. I'm not a good analyst of pitches, so I don't know what exactly what working for Joe today, so I'm just going to say EVERYTHING was working. Marlins hitters were making plenty of contact - there were only four strikeouts, including the game-ender - but everything was hit softly and right at people. If it wasn't hit right at the infielder, he made sure to go and get it. Tonight was full of highlight-reel defensive plays from all four of the infielders. There were 17 ground-ball outs and only five fly ball outs.

Saunders needed only 60 pitches to get through the first six innings, and was at 77 after seven, having allowed only two hits and faced only one batter over the minimum. The first hit allowed was a single by Gabby Sanchez in the 3rd, but he was erased on a double play. Omar Infante singled with one out in the 5th, he was out on a fielder's choice, then Sanchez hit into fielder's choice. On that ground ball by Sanchez that ended the 5th inning, the ball ricocheted off of Saunders's left calf. He was noticeably wincing and limping after that, and he didn't have much time to rest because of Zambrano's 5-pitch frame. That may have been a blessing in disguise because the leg didn't have time to freeze up. Joe was walking up and down the dugout the whole rest of the game to keep it warm, and give him credit for pitching through whatever pain it was giving him.

Aaron Hill hit a solo home run, his 4th of the year, in the 6th inning, and the Diamondbacks added on some insurance runs in the top of the 9th. Parra singled and stole second base, and then the Marlins intentionally walked the 4-for-4 Kubel to bring up Miguel "Not The Microwave*" Montero. Miggy decided to lace a double over the head of Logan Morrison in left field, and Parra and Kubel scored easily.

Saunders went out for the 9th inning at 98 pitches and immediately gave up a leadoff walk. J.J. Putz was warm in the bullpen just in case, but Saunders got Chris Coghlan to hit into a double play. After a long at-bat, Emilio Bonifacio singled on a close play at first, only the third hit of the game. Saunders then got Donnie Murphy to strike out to end the ballgame. Four starts in, Joe Saunders now has a 0.90 ERA.

Source: FanGraphs

Superman: Joe Saunders, +41.4%
Lois Lane: Aaron Hill, +10.8%; Jason Kubel, +7.6%
Lex Luthor: Gerardo Parra, -7.6%

What a night for Joe and several underrated Diamondbacks players. Jason Kubel is earning his way into fans' hearts with a 4-for-4 night with a run from his intentional walk in the 9th. Ryan Roberts, back in the starting lineup, had a nice day in the field and a key walk to load the bases. Aaron Hill hit his 4th home run of the year, and Lyle Overbay was 3-for-3 with two walks.

We started out as a quiet night, but ended the game at over 920 comments by 39 people. It was fun as more fans joined the Gameday Thread as Joe's performance kept getting better and better. We even got a few new posters after the on-air shout-out - thanks, Daron! ;) imstillhungry95 led the way with 212 comments, and although I came in second place, I didn't have even half the total of ish95; txzona was in third. All present were: jjwaltrip, imstillhungry95, Bcawz, Jim McLennan, Clefo, kishi, Zavada's Moustache, txzona, asteroid, BattleMoses, hotclaws, JoeCB1991, Muu, NASCARbernet, Britback, DivineWolfwood, Dan Strittmatter, snakecharmer, Backin'the'Backs, SenSurround, rd33, Cardscrazy247, dbacks79, The so-called Beautiful, GuruB, piratedan7, blank_38, iheartdbacks, mrsunshine, 4 Corners Fan, rfffr, soco, StitchyD, AzDbackfanInDc, Dallas D'Back Fan, Electromikey, ShumRN, DbackCardsFan, and CaptainCanuck.

With a quiet night comes not too many recommended comments, but blank_38 had a good one late in the game:

Let's call Miggy the Aluminum Foil.

Just for the fact you can’t put metal in the microwave.

by blank_38 on Apr 27, 2012 7:07 PM PDT

Ian Kennedy goes up against Anibal Sanchez tomorrow evening, Wade Miley vs Josh Johnson on Sunday, and "Some Minor League Player" will face Mark Buehrle on Monday. Kirk Gibson said earlier today that he has placed Josh Collmenter in the bullpen and will call up a pitcher for Monday's start. It will likely be Patrick Corbin or Tyler Skaggs, and it will not be Trevor Bauer, as Monday would be short rest for him.

*If you've missed the "microwave" discussion, apparently a few days ago a fan brought a sign to the game giving Miguel a nickname of "The Microwave." Daron and Gracie picked it up, and it's been a polarizing force on the broadcast ever since. While I agree "Miggy" could use a better nickname, I personally am on the #nomicrowave bandwagon.