Record: 20-24. Pace: 74-88. Change on 2015: -1.
Just for amusement, here's the Diamondbacks' starting line-up the last time we won a game in St. Louis on June 5, 2013, along with where they are now:
- Gerardo Parra, CF [Colorado]
- Willie Bloomquist, 2B [Special assistant]
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B [still here!]
- Jason Kubel, LF [missing, presumed retired]
- Cody Ross, RF [missing, presumed composing bitter Tweets somewhere]
- Martin Prado, 3B [Marlins]
- Didi Gregorius, SS [Yankees]
- Wil Nieves, C [Braves minors]
- Wade Miley, P [Mariners]
What a difference three-odd years make, eh? There were a couple of other players involved, who are still with us - Brad Ziegler got Miley out of a jam in the sixth, and A.J. Pollock was a late-inning defensive replacement. But interestingly, that game was a little like this one: in 2013, we were 2-1 up after six, before blowing it open and scoring eight runs in two innings. Tonight, this was still a game through the seventh, before the Diamondbacks put up seven runs in two innings (though as we'll see, the Cardinals weren't done tonight either).
But to begin at the beginning, with a first inning where neither starting pitcher looked exactly sharp. Carlos Martinez required 30 pitches to get through the top half, after retiring the first two batters. Goldschmidt walked, Brandon Drury had a double, and after a walk to Yasmany Tomas, Chris Herrmann came through again, with a two-run single. But Patrick Corbin was scarcely much sharper in the bottom half: he allowed three hits and a run, as St. Louis came right back to get on the board themselves.
If you were expecting a slugfest to break out though, you'd have to wait. Martinez needed fewer pitches to get the next nine outs, through the end of the fourth, than it took him to get the first three, helped by a trio of double plays. That included a particularly bizarre one where a liner back to the mound, ended up squirting out of his glove onto the ground, to the bemusement (and eventual outing) of Tomas, who was on first-base. But Corbin was even better. An infield single with one out in the second would turn out to be the last hit he would allow, though he did have his share of control issues, walking a total of four batters. But he also fanned seven, working into the seventh inning once for his third straight quality start: great as Rubby De La Rosa has been this month (2.75 ERA), Corbin has been almost as good (2.88).
He got some additional support in the fifth, as the D-backs took advantage of some sloppy play by the Cardinals. Corbin singled with one out, taking second as the ball clanked off an outfielder's glove, and scored with a head-first slight as Jean Segura singled - Segura taking second on the throw. He then came home on a Michael Bourn double to make it 4-1 to Arizona. That's where it remained when Corbin left the game, after a one-out walk in the seventh. Tyler Clippard came in and didn't exactly inspire confidence, leaving a lot of balls up in the zone as he allowed that inherited runner to score, putting the tying run on base before finally ending the seventh, getting Matt Holliday to strike out on another high pitch.
You'd have been forgiven for looking around in search of a paper-bag to breathe into over the final two innings, but the D-backs reduced that need by scoring five times on five hits in the eighth - mostly off Jonathan Broxton. Chris Owings had what Chip Hale described after the game as "maybe the best at-bat we've had all season" there - with men on second and third, the Cardinals walked Brandon Drury to get to Owings, who fell behind 0-2, then somehow stayed alive for six pitches before knocking the ninth pitch back up the middle for a two-run single. Rickie Weeks Jr. Bourn and Goldschmidt also had RBI hits later in the frame, which ended with the Diamondbacks leading 9-2.
Randall Delgado did his best to hand the lead back in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases without retiring a batter. He did then get an out, but had to give way to fireman v1.0 Daniel Hudson, who extinguished any further threat with a K and a foul-out. Although only seven down, the Cardinals opted to send out a position player to face the D-backs, Ruben Tejada joining the illustrious ranks of John McDonald, Drew Butera and Clint Robinson. Herrmann and Drury took full advantage, both homering to make it 11-2 to Arizona as we headed to the last of the ninth. Anyone think there would be a save in this one? Nope, me neither.
Evan Marshall, however, thought otherwise, and had a really wretched night. He faced nine batters and retired two; the Cardinals scored five times, and brought the tying run to the on-deck circle. Ergo: save situation. Jake Barrett got the call, and came in to record the final out for his first major-league save. Though, to be honest, given our Win Probability never sank below 98.2% the entire time, it wasn't anywhere near as stressful as it seemed. And, of course, if we hadn't scored all those runs, I imagine we would have seen Brad Ziegler in the ninth, rather than Marshall. Still, the final score mirrors somewhat the 12-8 of the first game when these two teams met at Chase. 15 hits for Arizona, six different players getting two apiece with Goldschmidt also reaching safely on a pair of walks.
[Click for details at Fangraphs.com]
Jackie Chan: Patrick Corbin, +21.3%
Stephen Segal: Brandon Drury, -4.7%
Just over 500 comments in the GDT, from AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, Chelsea75, GuruB, Jackwriter, James Attwood, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, MichaelMcD831993, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, Sprankton, Xerostomia, accidentallyonpurpose, asteroid, catbat, coldblueAZ, dbacks_in_vegas, hotclaws, onedotfive, piratedan7 and porty99. Comment of the night to Sprankton, who gets a gold star for finding something to be glad about in the ninth inning. Er, I think...
Tomorrow, it's Robbie Ray taking the mound for us, in a Saturday afternoon game which will be aired on Fox Sports One, please note.