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Diamondbacks 8, Cardinals 12 - Red Reign of Terror

If you would have said before this week began that we would split the series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the team with the best record in baseball, I think most fan would have been happy. But it is hard to be happy when the two losses the Diamondbacks took were in spectacularly bad fashion, particularly tonight’s.

Record: 34-26; Pace: 92-70; Change on 2012: +4

The Diamondbacks took a quick lead off of the Cardinals' Shelby Miller, who had a 1.82 ERA coming into tonight. Gerardo Parra lead off with a double, his 19th of the year, tying him with Matt Carpenter for the NL lead. Didi Gregorius singled to left, and while Matt Holliday threw in to the shortstop, Didi took second base and was safe. Then came an RBI groundout for Paul Goldschmidt, scoring Parra for his NL-leading 54th RBI. Miguel Montero shot a single through the drawn-in infield, and Gregorius scored, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead. Martin Prado lined out to Jon Jay in center - it was close to being a bounce, but definitely caught - and Miggy was doubled off to end the inning.

That lead lasted all of three batters. Although Parra made a great diving catch to rob Carpenter of his own leadoff double, Yadier Molina singled and Holliday knocked a home run over the bullpen in left field to tie the game at 2-2. The Cardinals got four more hits the next two innings, but Kennedy worked out of his own jams. But he wasn't so lucky in the fourth inning.

Daniel Descalso doubled off the right field wall to start, and a Jon Jay single gave the Cardinals a lead. With one out, Carpenter singled into no-man's land behind Didi at short. Molina then hit a soft grounder back to Kennedy, who threw high and wide to Didi, who could only throw over for the out at first base. That would-be double play was really the beginning of the end for Kennedy, as the next seven runs all came with two outs. A walk to Holliday loaded bases for Allen Craig, who drove in two more with a single. Matt Adams hit a three-run home run to right, which made it 8-2. David Freese, the ninth man to bat, walked, setting up Descalso to hit another home run, the second of the inning. Finally Jay struck out, but the damage was done. That inning, Ian Kennedy faced 11 batters and allowed eight runs on six hits, two walks and two home runs. That's a bad line for a night, let alone an inning. He threw 50 pitches in the inning, giving him 99 for the night. (Apparently, Gibby had said before the game that he wanted 100 pitches out of IPK... pretty sure he meant in more innings, though...)

Although Kennedy batted for himself the next inning, he was done for the night. Overall, he allowed 10 runs on 13 hits, two walks, and three home runs. The previous high in runs allowed for Kennedy was nine, on April 13, 2011, also against the Cardinals. At least in that game, which was at Chase Field, he allowed only one home run. Matt Reynolds, who relieved Kennedy tonight, gave up a pair of solo home runs in the 5th inning, including one to the pitcher Miller who had just gotten his first hit of the season earlier in the game.

The Diamondbacks put in their B squad after that, eventually putting Eric Hinske, Josh Wilson, and Wil Nieves in the field. But the team didn't give up. In fact, if you looked just at the final score, you probably wouldn't have thought they were down by 10 runs at one point. Normally, 13 hits and eight runs is a rather fine night for your offense. With one out in the seventh, the Diamondbacks hit five straight singles by Jason Kubel, A.J. Pollock, Cliff Pennington, Nieves and Parra to add three more runs, making it 12-5. The Diamondbacks even got within grand slam distance in the top of the ninth. After a Pennington single and ground rule double from Nieves, reliever Kevin Butler allowed three straight walks, walking in both Pennington and Nieves for a score of 12-7. Willie Bloomquist pinch hit and swung at the first pitch he saw from Edward Mujica (now pitching for the save) and nearly tied it up, but it ended up just being a long sacrifice fly to bring in Arizona's eighth and final run. Josh Wilson struck out to end the game.

Source: FanGraphs

Decent: D Gregorius, +12.0%; G Parra, +9.7%
Bad: P Goldschmidt, -9.3%
Really Bad: I Kennedy, -48.6%

Give credit where credit is due: the Cardinals got mistakes from Kennedy and Reynolds, and they made them pay. Tony Sipp and Heath Bell pitched scoreless innings, as did Reynolds in the sixth. And the offense never gave up. There were 14 strikeouts, which was ugly, but there was only one double play, and they had chances to add on (they left a summed total of 11 men on base). A split against the team with the best record in baseball, and a 4-3 season series win, is actually a good thing.

It was a long and rather testy gameday thread, which understandably quieted down in the later innings. There were 41 people hanging out tonight, Clefo having a leading 78 of the 600+ comments. All present were: Airwave, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Baseballdad, Britback, Circa4life, Clefo, Gildo, GuruB, Jake6233, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, John Baragona, Lozenge, Marc Fournier, Paper Clip, RobbieFVK, Rockkstarr12, Scott Howard, SenSurround, SongBird, The so-called Beautiful, TolkienBard, TylerO, Zavada's Moustache, azcougs, azshadowwalker, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, kishi, onedotfive, piratedan7, porty99, preston.salisbury, rd33, rfffr, snakecharmer, txzona, walleye01, and xmet.

Not only do the Diamondbacks go 4-4 on the road trip, the do it having increased their NL West lead. They head home to Arizona for a quick three-game series against the San Francisco Giants this weekend. And don't forget, if you get an extra Aaron Hill bobblehead, please consider sending him to your favorite California-based recapper. ;)