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Diamondbacks 6, Royals 4: Come for the Barbecue, Stay for the Quality Wins

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 18:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks slides safely into home past Humberto Quintero #33 of the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium May 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 18: Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks slides safely into home past Humberto Quintero #33 of the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium May 18, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Record: 18-22. Pace: 73-89. Change over last year: +1.

"Before you can win three, you need to win two." Harry Caray might have often played the clown, but he was as able to provide insight about this game as well as anyone. It's easy to get caught up in the end game, where your team wins everything and we all ride off into the sunset. But these happy endings are created from nothing. They're built from getting good at-bats, which build into good innings, which result in wins, which lead to streaks or series wins.

The Diamondbacks haven't won 2 games in a row since April 30th and May 1st. The beginning of the game didn't look great, and I feared the team would sink back into the collective slump. The good work at the beginning of the game, even if it didn't result in obvious, tangible things, resulted in good payoffs.

The first inning seemed to suggest good things to come. The number one question coming out of yesterday's 9-7 late inning win over the Rockies was, "Is this leading to good things for the D-backs?" Justin Upton got things going with a two out walk, and had a great approach all game. Miguel Montero put on in the gap and that brought Upton to put Arizona on the board first.

Joe Saunders had a good first inning, but ran into trouble in the 2nd. Johnny Giavotella led things off with a single for the home team, and he was followed by a single from Mike Moustakas. Giavotella was then moved over to third on a fielders choice. Humberto Quintero, not of Lolita fame, launched his own double to score both, putting Kansas CIty up 2-1.

Saunders didn't look much better in the third, giving up a leadoff homer to Billy Butler. Visions of a third straight disaster floated across my mind's eye. I'll admit I didn't have the proper amount of faith. But here's Saunder's line after three innings: 6 hits, 2 walks, 3 earned runs, no strikeouts. Forgive me, Baxter, for my lack of faith, but it didn't look good.

Luckily for the Diamondbacks he nearly immediately settled down. His final line was 6 IP, 3 earned runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Say what you will about the guy, but he's a big reason why the team one. He may have struggled through the first three, but he settled down and kept it close, giving the team enough time to come charging back.

And charge back they did. The D-backs booth was eerily prescient about what would come, noting that Luis Mendoza, the Royals starter, seemingly could not get anyone out the third time through the order. Call it an extreme version of the affliction that Josh Collmenter suffers from, but it happened tonight for Arizona's favor. Gerardo Parra started things off with a single, and he was followed by a Dunequist single. Parra was a boss in this play, stretching to third on what really was a shallow single to center, staring down KC's center fielder Maier as if to dare him to throw him out. It was pretty badass. Parra's effort was not in vain, with Upton hitting a single to put the score 3-2.

Chris Young stepped up, ready to get going after finally coming back from his DL stint. Some players don't react well to being DH. You might think it's easier to only hit, but especially for players that love playing in the field, it can be a tough adjustment. Not for Young, who whipped a ball down the left field line for a 2 RBI double to take the lead.

No late inning shenanigans tonight. Brad Ziegler didn't look so hot in his inning of work and gave up a run in the 7th, but the D-backs responded in the 8th with Miggy doubling yet again, this time bringing in Dunequist and Upton for another two runs. The score of 6-4 would hold when JJ Putz was brought in the 9th, and although he wasn't filthy dominant, he was pretty damn good. The only baserunner he allowed was on a walk that really should have been a strikeout if it hadn't been for the creative interpretation of the strike zone by the umpire.

Source: FanGraphs

Batman: Justin Upton (25.6%)

Wonder Woman and Superman: Chris Young (21.6%), Willie Bloomquist (16.2%)

Aquaman: Brad Ziegler (-13.7%)

All those stupid Crises DC insists on doing: Paul Goldschmidt (-10.5%)

Not a particularly busy GDT, with only 400 or so comments, but we were pretty focuses, so that has to count for something, right? Rockkstarr12 took the top honors with 64 comments, and was joined by: BattleMoses, hotclaws, dbacks79, AzDbackfanInDc, rfffr, piratedan7, CaptainCanuck, GuruB, jinnah, Ridster09, JoeCB1991, Cardscrazy247, 4 Corners Fan, blue bulldog, dback4life, soco, Azreous, luckycc, Muu, Bryn21, rd33, Joel Preston, Jim McLennan, jjwaltrip, and brian custer.

Comment of the day goes to CaptainCanuck, who took a break from his rioting to crank out this 5 rec'er:

by CaptainCanuck on May 18, 2012 10:30 PM EDT up reply actions 5 recs

So there you go. 2 straight wins, and they weren't beautiful but they were wins. We're too close to the subject and we won't be able to pull away for perspective until much later, but I'd like to think this is the start of something good. Tomorrow we continue on in Kansas City, the city so nice they named it after a different state. Midwesterners! So crazy! First pitch tomorrow is at 4:15pm, Arizona time. Be here, or somewhere else.