If you’d told me we’d allow five home-runs in one night to San Diego at Petco, I’d not have held out much hope. After all, it’s something the Padres hadn’t done in more than nine years, the last time being May 25, 2008. And teams hitting 5+ home-runs there had never lost, all seven having won by at least two runs. But somehow, the D-backs pulled off perhaps their most improbable, and certainly their biggest, comeback win of the season. For they rallied after San Diego had reeled off six runs in a row, to take a 6-2 lead, Arizona responding with ELEVEN unanswered runs.
We began with deja vu: for the first time, the D-backs started consecutive road games with a lead-off homer. Last night, A.J. Pollock was the provider; tonight, it was David Peralta, back in the line-up after missing Tuesday with a tight quad [the SnakePit Laideez can probably confirm this diagnosis]. But as we saw last night, jumping out to a very early lead is no guarantee of success. Especially when the case of Petcophobia which infected our starting pitchers this series, proved no respecter of Robbie Ray. He started off with a four-pitch walk. One out later, Ray issued another four-pitch walk, with everything from Ray apparently missing up in the zone.
He managed to escape damage, despite throwing more balls than strikes, and the Diamondbacks responded with another run in the second, courtesy of another long ball. This one came from an unexpected source - at least, recently - for Jake Lamb delivered his first home-run in exactly a month. He clobbered a center-cut 0-1 pitch to center for his 28th HR. It looked like the D-backs might have another in the inning, Chris Herrmann sending a a pitch down the right-field line. It was initially called a double, then changed to a home-run by the umpires. But on further review, the ball had gone just foul, before rebounding fair, so was simply strike one.
Ray’s struggles continued in the second inning, falling behind the first three batters faced, 2-0, 3-0 and 2-0. The second of those singled - his first major-league hit - and then the third homered, deep into the Western Metal Supply Co. Building down the left-field line at Petco. It’s kinda embarrassing to give up the first major-league home-run to something called a “Rocky Gale”. That’s not a baseball player name, it’s clearly one stolen from the mustachioed protagonist in an early seventies cop show. Or maybe a disco artist. Whatever. Game tied.
Even that didn’t last, as Ray’s obvious struggles continued into the third. Another two-run homer gave the Padres the lead, before Robbie had even retired a batter. Although he did then put up a zero in the fourth inning, he was already at 97 pitches to that point. A third home-run with one out in the fifth marked the end of Ray’s night, as he failed to get through five for only the third time this year. And one of those occurrences was the game were he took a line-drive to the head, so we can likely forgive that one. J.J. Hoover took over, and kept things going in the same vein, with the Padres getting their fourth home-run, before the end of the fifth inning.
As we headed to the sixth, the Diamondbacks trailed 6-2, and the peculiar section of their fandom which melts like a chocolate teapot after every three-game losing streak, was in full-blown China Syndrome. Twitter was packed with comments such as, “Swept by the Padres. Wow. SD made this team look like a joke real quick.” Fortunately, the team didn’t give up, in the way some people clearly did, and tied the game up with a four-run sixth. Ildemaro Vargas got things going with his first MLB hit, and Peralta walked. Ketel Marte doubled in a run, Paul Goldschmidt got a sacrifice fly and then, inevitably, J.D. Martinez happened, for the 25th time as a D-back.
Jimmie Sherfy put up a crucial zero in the bottom of the sixth. He stifled a Padres threat after singles put men on the corners with one out, getting Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe to pop out. No mean feat, considering Renfroe hit three of San Diego’s home-runs tonight! But their failure to retake the lead shifted the momentum into the Arizona dugout. Chris Herrmann singled with one out, stole second (his nine career SB for us, leads all D-backs catchers!) and came home on a Peralta RBI. Martinez came up again with the bases loaded, but there would be no Dodgers-like fireworks on this occasion.
David Hernandez got the first two outs in the seventh, but with the tying run on base, Torey Lovullo wasn’t messing around, and opted to bring in the beard. Archie Bradley got it done, ending the inning. With two on and two out, his spot in the order came up., and Lovullo sent Bradley up there to bat for himself, so he could also pitch the eighth. But Bradley wasn’t there as a token gesture: the first pitch he saw, a 95 mph fastball, was returned with interest and skittered past the startled San Diego center fielder. Both men scored, and Archie ended up standing on third: if anyone ever deserved a triple, he did, but the Petco scorer called it an RBI single and two-base error.
Having become the 11th Arizona reliever with an RBI, Bradley did his thing in the eighth, setting up Fernando Rodney for a shot at his three hundredth save. But that will have to wait for another day, because the D-backs scored four more in the ninth. Goldschmidt had an RBI single, and two outs later, A.J. Pollock had his 13th home-run of the year - and third in two days. I’m hopeful he is indeed back. Rodney sat back down, and Braden Shipley pitched the ninth, allowing Renfroe’s third homer of the year, before a game-ending double-play that sealed an Arizona victory which looked thoroughly unlikely after five innings.
It was an excellent day all round for us, with the Dodgers, Rockies, Cubs and Brewers all losing in various manners. As a result, our magic number against both the Brewers and Rockies shrunk to four, and we end the road-trip going 3-3. We’re 51⁄2 up over Colorado, with nine games left to play for us. I think the short flight home to Phoenix and off day tomorrow, will both be happy ones.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
The Pride and the Passion: David Peralta, +36.1%
A Special Day: Archie Bradley (hitting!), +18.1%
Grumpier Old Men: Robbie Ray, -34.9%
Bradey’s provisional +18.1% - even if partly due to the Padres’ OF - would be the highest ever at the plate for a D-backs reliever, more than doubling the previous most. That belongs to Jorge De La Rosa earlier this year, whose sacrifice on June 17 was worth +8.7%, moving the go-ahead run into scoring position.
The Gameday Thread was happy, then sad, then happy again, rewarding those who didn’t lose faith. Present were: Anachronistic1, BenSharp, BobDolio, DORRITO, DeadManG, Diamondhacks, Gilbertsportsfan, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, JoelPre, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, PaulGoldsmith, Xerostomia, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, onedotfive, samath and smartplays. Comment of the night to edbigghead, who said when the night was darkest:
Lemme hear you say: Hell, yeah. And suck it, all the “We’re going to get swept” people. I am going to revel unabashedly in the opportunity to gloat about this win by the Arizona Never say Die-mondbacks. Because, goddammit - tonight, I WAS RIGHT. :)