Record: 77-74, On pace: 83-79, Change: +1
Today. Today... At the edge of our hope, at the end of our time, we have chosen not only to believe in Paul Goldschmidt, but in our bullpen. Today there is not a man nor woman in here that shall stand alone. Not today. Today we face the monsters that are at our door and bring the fight to them. Today, we are cancelling the Dodgers' celebration!
Kirk Gibson's pre-game speech to the team? Hey, sure, why not. Pretend he had this song playing in the background.
It may have started with a little bit of worry. Just at the very beginning. Brandon McCarthy took the mound and gave up a lead off double to Yasiel Puig. But before we could get too concerned, McCarthy threw a pitch past Carl Crawford's bunt attempt, and Miguel Montero fired the ball back to second to pick Puig off second base for the first out of the game. It was pretty heart-warming, I'd suggest you go watch it on DBacks.com. We'll meet you in the next paragraph after Brandon McCarthy gets two ground outs.
You back? Good, because the Diamondbacks offense is. Adam Eaton started the bottom of the first by hitting a sharp grounder to right field. He made an interesting choice to round first and go for two, but it paid off as Puig fired a throw in that sailed over Nick Punto's head at second, and Eaton was in easily. With one out, Paul Goldschmidt stepped to the plate and put a great at-bat on Stephen Fife, working to a full count and fouling of a few pitches before slamming a ball to a fan in the pool area to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead. Arizona could have added on, getting a single from Aaron Hill that was followed by a walk and a HBP, but a K and a ground out thwarted the attempt.
The Diamondbacks stranded two more runners in the second inning, but they padded their lead in the third. Miguel Montero took another HBP to start the inning, taking second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on a single from Davidson and scored on a ground out from Gerardo Parra. Chris Owings singled and Brandon McCarthy walked to load the bases, ending Fife's outing in favor of Carlos Marmol. (There was also a whole subplot here where the Dodgers stalled to let Marmol warm up in the bullpen, and Don Mattingly came within a few steps of making a rules-violating visit to the mound that would have meant his immediate ejection.) Carlos Marmol came in for the Dodgers and rewarded their faith by walking Adam Eaton to gift Arizona with another run. Though Marmol did get the next two outs, including a K of Paul Goldschmidt to end the inning. But Arizona carried a 4-0 lead into the fourth.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers had been struggling against Brandon McCarthy, going down in order since Puig had been picked off second. That changed in the top of the fourth, though. Puig led the inning off with a monster home run to center field, and the Dodgers then strung three singles together, with Adrian Gonzalez bringing in a run and giving the Dodgers two runners on with nobody out. McCarthy took a deep breath and settled in, though, getting Matt Kemp to strike out swinging, getting a fielder's choice from Mark Ellis, and a foul out from Nick Punto to end the inning. 4-2, DBacks still held the lead.
The bottom of the fourth started off with the Dodgers hitting their third batter of the game, and the Diamondbacks charging the field to start a brawl in retaliat- no, no, wait, Aaron Hill just took his base, and the Diamondbacks continued playing the game like adults. Huh. Weird, that. Hill was erased on a GIDP from Montero, and then both teams had 1-2-3 innings in the fifth. And then we hit the sixth inning, and things got a little.... weird.
It started in the top of the inning. Michael Young hit a one-out single for the Dodgers, and then Adrian Gonzalez doubled to left field. Adam Eaton made a nice relay to Chris Owings, who fired the ball in to Miguel Montero, who got the benefit of a questionable call from the umpire to call Young out at home. Young wasn't the only one leaving the field- Gonzalez complained about the call from second base- which, naturally, is a great vantage point for plays at the plate- and in a quick moment, A-Gon was gone, eh? He was replaced on the bases by Juan Uribe, who took over at third for the Dodgers, moving Young over to first.
The Diamondbacks tried to add on in the bottom of the sixth, hitting a couple of singles off Brandon League to start things off. A.J. Pollock and Goldy then executed a nice double steal on the first pitch after Paco Rodriguez was brought in from the bullpen for the Dodgers, but despite a two out intentional walk of Matt Davidson, the Diamondbacks couldn't score, leaving the bases loaded for the third time in the game.
Things started to look bright for the Dodgers in the top of the seventh, where a lead off single by Nick Punto was followed by a double from Tim Federowicz to cut the Diamondbacks lead to 4-3. McCarthy was pulled for Tony Sipp, who faced a sac bunt from Skip Schumaker. That was all for Sipp's evening, as he was replaced by Chaz Roe, who gave up a single to Puig, though the runners couldn't advance. And that was all Roe would do, getting swapped out for Joe Thatcher, who got pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke to ground into an inning ending double play to end the Dodgers threat. Whew.
Brian Wilson took the mound for the Dodgers in the seventh, despite having to leave his lizard and top hat in the bullpen. He gave up a single to Willie Bloomquist, but got a double play from Adam Eaton to end the inning, and headed into the bullpen, just glad no one brought up that time Showtime kept showing ads where he said the Giants would repeat their title in 2011.
The Diamondbacks turned to David Hernandez in the eighth inning. He got a ground ball for the first out, and then Paul Goldschmidt showed some nice range to catch a soft line drive for the second out. Chris Owings made great grab for the third out, and the Diamondbacks started Brad Ziegler warming up in the bullpen for his shot at the save in the ninth.
Ha ha, just kidding! Because there wasn't going to be save situation by the time he was ready. A.J. Pollock started the inning off with a walk from Ronald Bellisario, and he came around to score when Aaron Hill bounced a one out double off the wall that ricocheted over Scott Van Slyke as he slid to the ground on the warning track. After intentionally walking Miguel Montero, Bellisario gave up another double, this time to Martin Prado, bringing Hill in to score. Another intentional walk to Parra loaded the bases, and Bellisario's night was over, replaced by Peter Moylan. Moylan rewarded the Dodgers for their faith by walking Chris Owings on four pitches to bring in another run. After an Eric Chavez fly out, Adam Eaton singled to center to score Prado and Parra, and it was a 9-3 ballgame.
Ziegler came in for the ninth, but it wasn't the high stakes match we were expecting. He gave up a two out solo home run to Tim Federowicz, but, hey, if you're going to do that, do it when you're up by six runs. He got Skip Schumaker to ground out to end the game, and Arizona had pushed the Dodgers celebration back another game.
What A joke: Joe Thatcher (+22.1%)
Elbow Rocket: Paul Goldschmidt (+14.4%), David Hernandez (+12.5%)
Not Great: Gerardo Parra (-9.5%)
Lot of runners stranded, but the Diamondbacks certainly had enough to spare- twelve hits and ten walks helps a lot. McCarthy's three walks was the most he'd given up in a while, he'd only had allowed one walk across 36 innings in his last five starts. And a win means the Diamondbacks go 10-8 on the season series with Los Angeles, so no matter what, we'll win that.
Very busy thread, though Jim may have been allowing a few conversations to take place under protest. I led the comment count, with DBacksSkins in second, and Clefo just a little shy of triple digits. Also stopping by: 4 Corners Fan, BackwardK, CaptainCanuck, Diamondhacks, FatBoysEatMeat, GuruB, Jim McLennan, Rockkstarr12, SongBird, TolkienBard, Zavada's Moustache, asteroid, azshadowwalker, blank_38, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, onedotfive, piratedan7, porty99, shoewizard, soco, and xmet. Three comments went green, all of them mine, so I'll just thank you all for the reminder that I'm very funny, and leave you with this little bit of off-season trivia:
Not many people know it
So we say "Not Today" to the Dodgers, and we stand on the precipice. A win means we send the Dodgers down to losing six of seven and kick them out of our park without a division title. A loss means watching them win. It's too late to keep them from taking the division. But the least we can do is keep them from winning it on our turf.
Let this be the hour when we draw swords together. Fell deeds awake. Now for wrath, now for ruin, and the red dawn. Forth, Diamondbacks!