How gentle was it? While the starting line-up was perhaps a David Peralta short of Opening Day, by the beginning of the third inning, there were only two survivors on the D-backs side. After Anthony Banda stranded a GCU runner on third, the substitutions began with one out in the bottom of the first inning: Brandon Drury walked and was promptly pulled for a pinch-runner. Arizona scored three times in that inning, on RBI doubles by Jake Lamb and Oswaldo Arcia, sandwiching a sacrifice fly off the bat of Yasmany Thomas (sic).
Further three-spots for the Diamondbacks in the fourth and fifth innings broke the game open. Dawel Lugo got the spring’s first home-run, and after a walk to Reymond Fuentes, Oswaldo Arcia also went deep for a two-run shot, putting Arizona up 6-0. The Antelopes then walked themselves into trouble in the fifth, as a Nick Ahmed single was followed by three free passes, the last another one to Fuentes, scoring Ahmed. Jack Reinheimer completed the Arizona tally on the day, singling in two runs. Arcia led the way, going 2-for-2 with three RBI, and Fuentes had his two walks. The D-backs had only six hits, but walked six times - and it was only a 7-inning game, too.
The pitching was crisp, seven different Diamondbacks throwing an inning, combining for nine strikeouts to only two walks, and five hits allowed. The J-squad of Josh Taylor, Jared Miller and Jimmie Sherfy all made good first impressions, each pitching a hitless inning with two strikeouts. Anthony Banda (post-game interview below) also looked good in his hitless first inning, sitting mostly at 95-96 mph but touching 97. Obvious caveat: it was only a one-inning outing, but against that, it was also the first game of the year. Miller Diaz lost the shutout for Arizona in the top of the sixth inning, as the lead-off walk he allowed, came around to score after a single and a ground-out.
A crowd of 4,004 in attendance at Salt River Fields, and I wish I’d been one of them, for it looked a very nice day for some baseball. The D-backs now get a couple of days off, before Cactus League play starts up against - who else? - the Colorado Rockies on Saturday afternoon. So we’ll remain undefeated in 2017 for at least another couple of days!