Record: 18-15; Pace: 88-74; Change on 2012: +3
It was clear the Diamondbacks were still feeling good after last night's victory and weren't going to rest on their laurels. Gerardo Parra singled to center open the game, and hurried over to second base. After a sacrifice bunt moved him over, Paul Goldschmidt hit a groundout up the middle to bring Parra in for a quick 1-0 lead.
Brandon McCarthy looked good through the first two batters of the Dodgers' half of the first, but he could not get out of the inning cleanly. He then gave up three straight singles to Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier to tie up the game. The first two batters took Brandon half the number of pitches that the next four did, and again he ended the first inning at 27 pitches.
Arizona fought right back in the second inning. Eric Chavez floated a double to left, easily making it to second on Carl Crawford. Small ball worked again, as Chavez moved over on a groundout and scored on a single by Jason Kubel. Los Angeles tied it again in their half on a solo home run by Nick Punto. By the time McCarthy was done with the second inning, he was at 52 pitches, and although he was limiting the damage, his long-term prospects for the game looked grim.
But McCarthy settled down and pitched four very solid innings. He was helped by some stellar defense from Didi Gregorius, Cliff Pennington, and Goldschmidt. A single by Andre Ethier in the fifth ended a streak of seven Dodgers in a row sat down by McCarthy. Still, it didn't look like Brandon was going to get out of this start allowing fewer than eight hits - they were at seven going into the sixth inning, which of course was an easy 1-2-3 inning that put him at 92 pitches.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks were getting men on base in every single inning and stranding most of them. In addition to the leadoff doubles by Parra and Chavvy in the first two innings, Didi Gregorius lead off the third with a single (to extend his hitting streak to 10, tying a team record for a hitting streak start a season). Cody Ross singled in the fourth inning, and was joined on the basepaths by Pennington, but both were stranded. Didi led off the fifth inning with another single, followed by a four-pitch walk to Paul Goldschmidt. At this point, the pace of the game by Beckett became excruciatingly slow. After striking out Miguel Montero, Chavez singled to left and Didi scored easily on Crawford's weak arm / double clutch of the ball, and the Diamondbacks took a 3-2 lead. Ross and Kubel then struck out to end the threat.
The sixth inning was the only one in which the leadoff Diamondback did not reach base. Parra reached on an infield single with two outs, then was caught stealing.
With a 3-2 lead and McCarthy at 92 pitches, having had a very good outing, Kirk Gibson decided to.... send him back out there. He immediately gave up his first walk of the night to Skip Schumaker, then Nick Punto doubled to the gap in right-center, and Schumaker scored to tie the game right back up. After a sacrifice bunt moved Punto to third base, McCarthy pulled was pulled for Tony Sipp, who got two big outs to keep the game tied. And although, yes, McCarthy gave up his standard eight hits, he only gave up three runs - technically a "quality start" - and successfully avoided getting beaten by The Big Inning.
It would take late inning magic to win this game tonight, and considering how many men the Diamondbacks had left on base, it wasn't looking good. Sure enough, the next half inning saw a leadoff walk by Eric Chavez (who then stole second base on a failed hit-and-run) squandered with more Ks by Ross and Kubel and a groundout by Eric Hinske. David Hernandez came in for the Dodger eighth and made things interesting by giving up a leadoff double to Matt Kemp, but D-Hern escaped his own jam.
The Dodgers put their closer Brandon League in for the ninth inning. Parra took a leadoff walk, and with one out, Paul Goldschmidt put on a very good at-bat. He fouled off five pitches with two outs, and on pitch #11, smashed an elevated sinker (according to Gameday) to deep left-center field for a no-doubt two-run home run.
The Diamondbacks then put their closer J.J. Putz in for the bottom of the ninth inning. Four high and outside pitches later, J.J. was pulled with an unknown injury, and he could be seen clenching, opening and closing, his throwing hand as he walked back to the dugout. Heath Bell warmed up quickly and came into the game, and he retired all three batters he faced to earn his second save of the season.
Gold Standard: P Goldschmidt +43.3%
Silver Dollars: E Chavez, +33.4%, T Sipp, +19.6%
Bronze Rubbing: B McCarthy, -28.5%
In comments after the game, Gibson said Putz experienced "elbow stiffness" and would be evaluated Wednesday. J.J. expanded on that, saying he felt something in his elbow that he's never felt before, along with pain that zings down his fingers. He's concerned because he's never felt anything like it before, but there's nothing to be done until he's seen by a doctor and has any diagnostic tests done. Initial guess: if it's anything more than a tweak, he's out at least the upcoming series against the Phillies, if not a DL stint.
A happenin' place, the gameday thread was, tonight. ish95 led the way, Clefo not far behind, and a visit from DbacksSkins shows he's not too far off his normal form, as he took third. All 41 people present: $-The Moneyman-$, 5thStarter, AJV19, AzRattler, Baseballdad, Circa4life, Clefo, DbacksSkins, Diamondhacks, Dutchfan, Fangdango, GuruB, Jake6233, Lozenge, Majabe, Marc Fournier, PR151, Paper Clip, PatrickPetersonAZ, Rockkstarr12, SenSurround, SongBird, The so-called Beautiful, Turambar, TylerO, Xipooo, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azshadowwalker, benhat, dbacks79, dbrowell, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, onedotfive, porty99, rd33, snakecharmer, soco, txzona, and walleye01. Welcome to the rookies who are posting in your first few gameday threads with us!
The Diamondbacks go for the sweep of the Dodgers tomorrow night, same time, same place.