Firstly, let's close the poll for Play of the Year, which was among the closest in 'Pitties history, with less than ten percent splitting the four leading choices. I'm not sure we've ever had a winner with less than 30% of the vote before, but such is the case this year, with Gerardo Parra's bare-hand force at second just edging out Martin Prado's game-saving catch, with Paul Goldschmidt's 13-pitch home-run coming in third. It is Parra second AZ SnakePit award, having won Rookie of the Year in 2009; he also received an honorable mention for Play of the Year, the following season.
We now turn our attention to the Game of the Year category. Hear are the nominees: the links in the nominee header go to the SnakePit recap of the appropriate game.
In hindsight, this extra-inning marathon was perhaps an omen for the entire season, as the Cardinals blew four leads, and the Diamondbacks two of their own, in what was the longest game in Chase Field history, taking five hours and 32 minutes to complete. After coming back from 4-1, 7-5 and 8-7 deficits to force extra innings, it looked all over as the Cardinals scored in the 12th off Josh Collmenter. But a Martin Prado sacrifice fly tied things up, and a Cliff Pennington single in the 16th gave Arizona their first walk-off win of the year. Collmenter got the win, throwing five innings, and his 78 pitches were more than starter Brandon McCarthy!
May 18: Diamondbacks 1, Marlins 0
This one was also started by McCarthy, and went rather better than the one above, as he threw a complete-game shutout. And it was a performance the Diamondbacks certainly needed, because their entire scoring for the evening was completed on the first pitch of the game, Gerardo Parra homering to lead off the top of the first. We managed only three singles the rest of the way, the same as the Marlins. It was probably the tensest game of the year, and the first time in almost 50 years that a nine-inning game was won 1-0, on a home-run off the very first pitch [last time, the Reds’ Pete Rose hit the homer, on Sept. 2, 1963]
July 4: Diamondbacks 5, Mets 4 (15)
By one metric, this was the most exciting NL game of 2013, which saw 14 consecutive combined zeroes posted from the sixth through the 12th innings, before Arizona took the lead in the 13th and 14th, only to see New York match them, Heath Bell and Chaz Roe blowing the saves. Undaunted, a Pennington single gave Arizona yet another lead in the 15th, and this time Brad Ziegler made it stand up, stranding another tying run at third, after putting two men on with one out, through a pair of free passes. It was the second game of the series - and part of a span of three in ten days - to run more than five hours, lasting 5:46.
Aug 17: Diamondbacks 15, Pirates 5
This one was such a laugher, we didn't even get a full recap from BattleMoses, the Diamondbacks reaching the 15-run and 20-hit double-marks on the road for the first time since June 1999. Arizona was 8-0 up by the middle of the third, keyed by a six-run sixth which included seven straight hits from the #6 through #3 hitters in the order. There was actually some nervousness, as the Pirates did get the go-ahead run to the plate in the sixth, before Joe Thatcher struck out Neil Walker. But the Diamondbacks poured it on down the stretch, scoring seven runs over the final two innings to complete their best offensive performance by RE24 in almost a decade.
Aug 24: Diamondbacks 12, Phillies 7 (18)
After combining for 14 runs in the opening eight innings, the Diamondbacks blowing a six-run lead, neither team could then get a man home for the next nine. The Phillies finally ran out of pitchers first, having to turn to Casper Wells who ended up taking the loss as well as going 0-for-7, and having to be bailed out on the mound by former D-back John McDonald. This game lasted six minutes into its eighth hour, the longest in 24 years, and set all kinds of records. Probably my favorite was that over their first 2,557 regular season-games, no Diamondback had ever had five walks in a game. Not one, but two did so in this contest (Tony Campana + Pennington).
An automatic honorable mention has been awarded by the judging panel i.e. me, to the Dodgers' brawl game: it's probably the contest this year which will be remembered longest, if not necessarily for the most elevated of reasons!