Record: 65-60. Pace: 84-78. NL West: -8.5
The game didn't start on a high note for the Diamondbacks. After a swift 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Brandon McCarthy took the mound and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Shin-Soo Choo. That was balanced out a little by a nice jump from Paul Goldschmidt to snag a high throw from Martin Prado for an out, but it still left a few tinges of dread in our hearts.
That dread was stoked in the second inning. Another 1-2-3 showing from the Diamondbacks offense was at least followed by two quick outs for McCarthy in the bottom half. But things fell apart quickly, as he gave up singles to Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart. Mike Leake came to the plate, and justified all those complaining AL announcers about letting pitchers hit by- no, wait, sorry, he hit a ground rule double, scoring Mesoraco. Choo came to the plate and singled to center to bring in Cozart and Leake, and the Reds took a 4-0 lead into the third inning.
It didn't get better from there. Another 1-2-3 inning for Leake, and the Reds were back at bat. A single, a fielder's choice, and another single put two runners on with one out for Cincinnati. Chris Heisey doubled down the line to bring both runners in, and Devin Mesoraco singled to get Heisey in and run the score to 7-0. That was the end of McCarthy's outing- Josh Collmenter was called in from the bullpen, and got a ground out from Cozart and a swinging K from Leake to end the inning.
Fourth inning! Fortunes change! Well, okay, not much. But the Diamondbacks at least broke up Mike Leake's perfect game bid, finally getting their first base runner with a one out single from Martin Prado. Of course, things didn't go well in the bottom of the inning, as Shin-Soo Choo started the inning with a double off the wall and scored on a single from Joey Votto to stretch the lead to 8-0.
Okay, then it started getting a little better. I mean, after being down 8-0, it'd be hard not to.
It started with a single from Wil Nieves in the top of the fifth. A.J. Pollock followed that up with a single of his own, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch from Leake. Didi Gregorius struck out swinging, and Jason Kubel was sent in to pinch hit for Collmenter, ending his outing surprisingly early. Kubel surprised us all (okay, many of us, at least) by singling to right field, bringing both runners in to score and end the shut out. Adam Eaton stepped to the plate and decided it was time for his second home run of the season, and like that, we had cut the Reds' lead in half as we entered the bottom of the fifth.
Will Harris pitched the fifth and Eury De La Rosa took the sixth , both pitchers giving 1-2-3 innings out of the bullpen. Then in the top of the seventh inning, with Manny Parra taking the hill for the Reds, the Diamondbacks offense took another shot at the lead. The damage came with two outs again, this time starting with Tony Campana beating out an infield single. A walk to Adam Eaton ended Manny Parra's night, and J.J. Hoover came in for Cincinnati. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, allowing Martin Prado to single in Campana from second and advancing Eaton to third. A four pitch walk to Paul Goldschmidt loaded the bases as the tying run, but Aaron Hill couldn't take advantage of it, flying out to end the inning.
Oh, but the Diamondbacks offense wasn't done yet. Joe Thatcher gave up a leadoff double to Joey Votto in the bottom of the seventh before he got two outs and let Heath Bell earn the third. That took us to the eighth inning, where the Reds called on big Jonathan Broxton. Broxton didn't quite live up to the memories of his days as a shut-down closer in LA, giving up a long bomb to Gerardo Parra- called a double at first, but then corrected as a home run upon further review. Hooray, robots! After walking Nieves on four straight pitches, Broxton was pulled, looking like an injury. Aroldis Chapman came in for the Reds. He got a ground out from Pollock on a great play by Todd Frazier at third to get the out. Didi Gregorius drew a walk, which brought Matt Davidson in to pinch hit for Heath Bell. Davidson hit a perfect double play ball, but Gregorius made a great slide to distract Brandon Phillips. Phillips's throw to first ended up sailing past Joey Votto, and Wil Nieves came around to score on the play, making the score 8-7. A strike out of Adam Eaton came on a questionable strike two and an ugly swing for strike three, and we were on to the eighth.
Brad Ziegler came in for the Diamondbacks, gave up a one out single to Cozart and then struck out Aroldis Chapman. Then... He got unlucky. Choo singled to right to give the Reds two runners on, and then a floater by Todd Frazier was just past Didi's glove to land in the outfield, scoring Cozart. Votto walked to load the bases, and then Ziegler got a ground ball to Didi that had all his momentum going in the wrong direction to get an out, scoring Choo. J.J. Putz came in for Ziegler and got pop out to end the inning, but the Reds had taken their lead to 10-7.
The Diamondbacks tried in the ninth, at least. A lead-off walk to Prado was followed by a single for Goldschmidt, giving us the tying run at the plate. But all we got was a pop out, a fielder's choice, and a line out, and whatever hope of a miraculous come back dissipated into the muggy Cincinnati evening.
The Villain of the Piece: Brandon McCarthy (-35%)
Blaaaaah. I mean, it was a game that went downhill early, and the attempt at a comeback was slightly soured by the complete failing of it, especially from a usually reliable bullpen arm like Ziegler. Ah, but is there such a thing? I fear there isn't.
A fairly active thread, given the afternoon start time and the terrible score, but much of that was discussions of doom. BulldogsNotZags took first place in the commenting, and he was joined by 4 Corners Fan, AF DBacks Fanatic, AJV19, Airwave, Augdogs, AzRattler, Clefo, Diamondhacks, Fangdango, FatBoysEatMeat, GODSCHMIDT, Gildo, GuruB, Husk, Jim McLennan, Lozenge, The so-called Beautiful, Turambar, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azcougs, azshadowwalker, catbat, cheese1213, cole8865, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, kishi, melliemacker, onedotfive, piratedan7, rapdawg, rd33, shoewizard, soco, and xmet. I'm awarding Comment of the Day to Zavada's Moustache, because Community references make me laugh:
How long have I been asleep? Is Napster still a thing?
So an early start tomorrow, 9:35 Arizona time for first pitch. Be here, or be somewhere else. Maybe at some sort of function where The Man is compensating you for your labor with currency. Y'know, if you're a sell out or something. Whatever!