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Diamondbacks 1, Cubs 8 - The Alfonso Soriano Show

Stephen Drew was the lone bright spot in today's loss. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Stephen Drew was the lone bright spot in today's loss. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Record: 42-44. Pace: 79-83. Change on last season: -4

After a 3 hour and 40 minute rain delay, the Diamondbacks and Cubs still got to be the first game back from the All Star break. Ian Kennedy was given the honor of starting the team off on a good foot, and he went up against Paul Maholm, who struggled mightily against Arizona at the end of June. Could the Diamondbacks continue their win streak?

Instead, they ran into their nemesis, Alfonso Soriano, in a dark alley, where he took their wallet and stole all the runs for himself. Read on for the grisly details.

Final - 7.13.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 1
Chicago Cubs 0 1 0 1 3 1 2 0 X 8 10 0
WP: Paul Maholm (7 - 6)
LP: Ian Kennedy (6 - 8)

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The Diamondbacks started the second half of the season off with a bang. Or, at least it seemed like it was going to be a bang, but it really ended up only a sputter. The first batter up, Willie Bloomquist, laced a double to the wall in left-center. Aaron Hill moved him over to third, and put himself at first, with a bunt single. So with runners at the corners and nobody out, and Justin Upton up to bat, what would be do? Why, of course he'd ground into a double play. At least Willie scored from third, but it sure felt like a very deflating lead after one inning...

The Cubs took advantage of wildness by Kennedy in the 2nd. Alfonso Soriano had a leadoff double, moved to third base with two outs, and scored on wild pitch off the glove of Montero. Darwin Barney then singled and stole second base easily - he was nearly there before Montero caught the pitch. He advanced to third on another wild pitch (which walked the batter, Luis Valbuena). Thankfully, a ground ball by the pitcher Paul Maholm got Kennedy out of the jam.

Rain started falling again in the bottom of the 3rd, but they played through it, and it tapered off just in time for Soriano to give the Cubs a lead in the 4th with a no-doubt homer to left. And when I say no-doubt, I mean Soriano knew it, and Kennedy knew it, and everybody left in the stands knew it. It was hit so hard, it went out of physical ballpark, and that was with the wind blowing to right field.

Soriano killed Kenn(ed)y again in the 5th inning. With two outs and runners at the corners, Soriano again swung at Kennedy's first pitch and again hit a home run to left center. At least this one barely got over the baskets, but all three runs counted just the same. Soriano accounted for four of the Cubs' RBIs and scored the fifth run himself on the wild pitch earlier.

Kennedy started the 6th inning - he was only at 80 pitches - but that proved to be costly. He hit Soto with a pitch and Barney singled, sending Soto to third, to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Kennedy was pulled, and Mike Zagurski came in to try to limit the damage. After a strikeout, Soto ended up scoring on what was called a fielder's choice by the pitcher, but then Zagurski got the double play he needed to stop the bleeding.

Brad Ziegler came in for the 7th and promptly contributed to the Alfonso Soriano Show by giving up two singles to start the inning, then Soriano hit a ground rule double to left. Then Paul Goldschmidt fumbled the ball trying to tag Brian LaHair, and that allowed Anthony Rizzo to score. Then Ziegler did was he was brought in to do, and that's get three outs, in succession even. But two more runs scored, making the score 8-1 Cubs in the 7th.

You'll notice the "1" still for the Diamondbacks' number of runs scored. Cubs starter Paul Maholm really settled down after the first inning. Goldschmidt singled in the 2nd inning but was erased on a double play; Stephen Drew doubled in the 3rd and singled in the 5th, and was stranded both times; and Kubel singled with two outs in the 6th. Maholm pitched seven innings, giving up six hits and just the one run. It's a far, far cry from when the Diamondbacks beat up on him a few weeks ago when he couldn't even get out of the 4th inning.

Patrick Corbin pitched a quick 1-2-3 8th inning, continuing to succeed as a relief pitcher. Gerardo Parra singled in the 9th, but that was as far as the Diamondbacks got for a comeback effort. The Diamondbacks drop the first game to the Cubs, 8-1.

Source: FanGraphs

Dick Tracy: S Drew, +8.5%
Starface: I Kennedy, -28.4%
Weak Sidekicks: Everybody Else

I'm pretty sure at lease a third of the comments in today's gameday thread were posted during the rain delay. Still, a good turnout, over 900 comments total from 44 people. As always, ish95 led the way, and he even left for a while to play Wii. DC and Bcawz round out the podium. All present were: Bcawz, Gildo, 4 Corners Fan, hotclaws, AzDbackfanInDc, asteroid, txzona, BigLeagueAZ, Jim McLennan, Tucson d-back fan, Turambar, Bryn21, Clefo, onedotfive, Muu, DbackCardsFan, blank_38, Zavada's Moustache, JoeCB1991, imstillhungry95, Rockkstarr12, Skii, dbacks79, sonic barracuda, luckycc, Medusas_Daughter, Bryan J. Boltik, PatrickPetersonAZ, azcougs, snakecharmer, Britback, azwebber, marionette, xmet, SenSurround, The Goat, BattleMoses, Backin'the'Backs, Baseballdad, rfffr, Augdogs, egboyz, Gibbysdad, and $-The Moneyman-$.

There was only one green comment today, and it was a good one from hotclaws. We have learned our lesson that Bieber only works against the Dodgers....

Click here to see animated GIF

The Diamondbacks get right back at it tomorrow morning - a 1:05pm local start, 10:05am Arizona time - when Joe Saunders returns from the disabled list (corresponding roster move TBD).