Record: 11-9-3. Change on 2013: +1.5.
This game was nip and tuck for much of its length. The Diamondbacks struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, on an RBI double by Martin Prado, who was then driven in by Miguel Montero's single. But the lead was lost in the very next inning, as the Brewers scored two runs of their own off Trevor Cahill, tying the game up on a hit by Milwaukee pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Undaunted, Arizona regained the lead in their half of the second, Gerardo Parra singling home A.J. Pollock. But that lead lasted no longer than the first one, a wild pitch by Cahill proving costly, as a runner advanced to third and came home on a groundout, making the score 3-3.
There was no more scoring until the seventh inning, which was good to see from our starting pitcher, since Cahill had seemed to struggle a bit with his location over his previous three outings. This was definitely his best appearance of spring, as he allowed two earned runs (plus an unearned one) over his five innings, scattering seven hits and a walk, but with an impressive seven strikeouts. Most of the hits came on ground balls, but he did receive some help from his defense: Montero threw our a runner to end the first and Pollock nailed a runner at home trying to score on a sacrifice fly. There were also a pair of wild pitches, but compared to previous outings, this was an improvement.
Left-handed relievers Oliver Perez and Joe Paterson combined to work a scoreless sixth, but Will Harris let the Brewers take the lead with a home-run leading off their seventh inning. Jess Todd loaded the bases with no-one out in the eighth, then looked like he might get out of it, getting the next Milwaukee hitter to line into a double-play. However, a wild pitch gave the visitors an additional insurance run. Kyle Winkler worked the ninth for Arizona: he uncorked another WP - Arizona's fourth of the day - on a third strike to let the runner reach, but got a double-play and put up a zero to set the stage for the bottom of the ninth.
The Diamondbacks faced a familiar face, in Zach Duke, whom you might remember from our 2011 roster [it's okay if not, however], and took full advantage of the opportunity. It was our turn to load the bases with no-one out, as Cliff Pennington, Shelley Duncan and Steve McQuail (no, me neither - I'm half wondering if the official scorer was just making names up at this point) all singled. A wild pitch scored one run, a fielder's choice scored another, and after Matt Tuiasosopo was walked, Tony Campana singled, to score McQuail and send the record Salt River Field crowd of 12,871 (not counting the swarm), home happy,
Pollock had a pair of hits for the Diamondbacks. Also worth mentioning, Cody Ross had his first at-bat of spring in a proper game, striking out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh. Oh, yeah. The bees. Or, rather: "not the bees!" They arrived in the second inning, initially in right-field,. then moved across and took over the left-field bullpen, which emptied out of Arizona relievers in a hurry for a bit. Previous spring training incidents have revolved around coconut hair gel - no word yet on which D-back uses a similar product.
After the game, the team made some more roster moves: Joe Paterson was optioned to Triple-A Reno, while. reassigned to minor league camp were Shelley Duncan, Mike Jacobs, Blake Lalli and Andy Marte. The next game will be on Friday (Sydney time) against Team Australia. Wow. Feels very strange to be writing that!