Record: 52-49. Pace: 83-79. NL West: -1.5
The first three innings went off without a hitch - Ian Kennedy cruised, retired seven Cubs in a row and struck out the side in the 3rd. After loading the bases in the bottom of the 1st inning, Arizona was also in a retired-seven-in-a-row slump. To put it simply, nobody was scoring a lick.
Until the 4th inning, that is.
In the 4th inning, the Cubs got a leadoff double, a one-out double, and a single to drive in two runs and take the lead. Then in the 5th inning, things got ugly. With two easy outs, David DeJesus "singled" on a ball that got by Martin Prado. (It was later changed to an error on Prado). Junior Lake (who is putting up insane numbers in this series, 9-for-15) doubled to left, and DeJesus scored all the way from first. Kennedy walked Anthony Rizzo in front of Nate Schierholtz, who, if you remember, homered last night off of David Hernandez. That's called foreshadowing, my friends, because, yes, he did it again tonight, hitting a 3-run home run to right and putting the Cubs up 6-0 in the middle of the 5th inning.
But, these are the 2013 Never Say Diemondbacks. These are also the 2013 Cubs, and we have to give them some credit for allowing Arizona to come back in this one. With the bases loaded in the 5th inning, Martin Prado hit it right up the middle and between the legs of Darwin Barney (ruled an error) to score two and give Arizona the crooked number that Bob Brenly so desired on the broadcast. Then, in the 6th, Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija allowed a one- and two-out single to A.J. Pollock and Gerardo Parra. Even though Samardzija practically owned the next batter in Paul Goldschmidt (Goldy was 0-for-8 against him with six strikeouts), manager Dale Sveum decided to pull Samardzija (he was at 118 pitches) for Blake Parker. Well, Parker tried to push a fastball on the inner half, which any NL West pitcher will tell you you just can't do. Goldschmidt lined a 3-run home run just over the left field wall, and suddenly it was a one run game.
The score stayed the same through the middle-late innings. Josh Collmenter had relieved Kennedy in the 6th inning and pitched two scoreless innings, and Will Harris and Brad Ziegler had the 8th and 9th innings respectively. So Arizona went into the bottom of the ninth inning still down by a score of 6-5, with Cubs closer Kevin Gregg in the game. But the middle of the order was up, and today, that part has produced. Sure enough, Goldschmidt led off with a walk, advanced to third on a single from Eric Chavez, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Cody Ross to tie it up and send the game to extra innings.
The Diamondbacks left the bases loaded in the 10th inning - for the third time of the game - and stranded two more baserunners in the 11th. If you're keeping track, that's 16 runners they left on base tonight. On the plus side, at least Arizona had that many baserunners (on 12 hits and nine walks - four to Goldschmidt alone).
Heath Bell had pitched two scoreless innings, and David Hernandez was called upon to pitch the 12th. Unfortunately, his struggles continued this evening. He gave up a two-out walk to Rizzo, who came in to score on a double to the left field corner by Schierholtz. Arizona sat down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 12th and lost by a final score of 7-6.
David Hernandez was inconsolable after the game. With the team in the clubhouse after the game, Hernandez sat in the dugout, dejected. J.J. Putz, the leader of this team, came out to talk to him. Tears were visible in David's eyes. He said after the game, "Eventually I have to start doing my job. It's not fair to my teammates who work so hard." Hernandez has too much talent, and I've got to have faith that he will get it together.
Superhero: P Goldschmidt, +35.3%
Sidekick: H Bell, +28.9%
Villan: D Hernandez, -28.8%
It was a pretty busy gameday thread tonight, with 34 people participating. Onedotfive, Bulldogz, and azshadowwalker all had above 50 comments. All present were: AzRattler, BulldogsNotZags, CaptainCanuck, Clefo, Diamondhacks, EzioExManAZ, Fangdango, GuruB, Husk, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, PR151, Rockkstarr12, The so-called Beautiful, TolkienBard, Wimb, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azshadowwalker, blank_38, cheese1213, coldblueAZ, cole8865, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, kishi, onedotfive, porty99, preston.salisbury, rfffr, snakecharmer, soco, txzona, and xmet.
Wimb made his two comments tonight count - one of them got the most recs for Comment of the Day, for titling his link to this animated GIF, "Seriously, IPK..."
Tomorrow night is the end of this 4-game series with the Cubs, and also marks the season finale for these two teams. Let's hope we can split the series.