I have to say, I was feeling kind of nervous coming up on today’s start time. The Diamondbacks have been painful to watch pretty much all month, and while I’ve been thinking that maybe some of our hitters were close to turning a corner, I thought that they had done so with the Friday night game against the A’s, only to be gravely disappointed in the final two games of that series. But Cincinnati is, well, the worst team in the National League, so if we were going to have a relatively good chance of winning, it would be against them. Of course, losing to the worst team in the NL when we were the best team (by W-L) at the beginning of May, would have been truly soul-crushing.
The first inning went quickly, with Matt Koch giving up a leadoff single to Jose Peraza but still facing the minimum thanks to a Travis Barhart flyout to center and a Joey Votto grounder to Paul Goldschmidt that he and Nick Ahmed converted into a nifty 3-6-3 double play. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, went down in order against Red starter Homer Bailey.
Koch looked wobbly in the second, giving up leadoff singles to NL batting leader Scooter Gennett and Reds third baseman Eduardo Suarez. He induced a pop-up to Lamb for the first out of the inning, but surrendered another single to left fielder Adam Duvall that brought Gennett home from second. Homer Bailey bunted the runners into scoring position for the second out of the inning, and then speedster Billy Hamilton popped up to Ahmed to end the threat. 1-0 REDS
Our boys, however, came out swinging in the bottom of the frame. Daniel Descalso laced a triple to right to lead off, and was sadly not able to score on a sharp John Ryan Murphy groundout. Chris Owings drew a five-pitch walk (when was the last time that happened?), putting runners on the corners but also making a double play possible. Socrates Brito came up and hit another sharp grounder toward short that would have been an easy double play, in fact, but thanks to the ball taking a weird bounce off the mound, Peraza wound up fielding it with his head rather than his mitt, and Descalso scored on the error. That brought up Nick Ahmed, and, well, this happened:
Koch and Jerrod Dyson went quietly to end the inning, but all was right and good again. 4-1 DBACKS
Koch allowed another hit in the third, but pitched around it. The Diamondbacks went down in order in their half. The fourth inning saw a Reds leadoff batter reach for the third time, this time being Eduardo Suarez with a line drive single to left. Koch promptly hit the next batter on the first pitch of the at bat, before once again dancing through the minefield and retiring the bottom the of the Reds’ lineup. Things perked up again in the home half, as John Ryan Murphy hung an eight-pitch at bat on Bailey before depositing the ninth pitch a few rows deep into the left field seats.
I have to believe that Homer Bailey must really have mixed feelings about his first name on a day like today. Anyway.
Owings then reached on an error by Suarez at third, and advanced to third on a Socrates Brito single up the middle. Ahmed hit a grounder to Suarez that he fielded successfully, throwing to Gennett at second for what could easily have been the start of another double play, but Owings blew that up by breaking for home, and Gennett blew it up even more with a bad throw to the plate that resulted in another error and allowed Chris to score safely. Koch and Dyson then went quietly to end the inning, but another crooked number was on the board for the good guys. 6-1 DBACKS
The fifth inning began with Koch giving up yet another leadoff single to Jose Peraza. One out later he gave up another to Joey Votto. Gennett flew out to center to give us hope that Koch might be able to wiggle out of trouble yet again, but alas, it was not to be. Suarez doubled into the gap in left, clearing the bases, and Koch then surrendered his first walk of the game. Once again Adam Duvall came up to bat, and once again he hurt us, this time with the second bases-clearing double of the inning. Homer Bailey then singled on a ball that glanced off Jake Lamb’s outstretched glove and rolled into shallow left. The bad inning was getting even worse, but Duvall tried scoring from second, and would have scored the tying run but for a bang-bang play by Ahmed to retrieve the ball and fire a laser to Murphy to nail Duvall at the plate.
Play of the game, momentum-wise, right there. Inning over, bleeding stopped. 6-5 DBACKS
That was the end of Koch’s day, and it was not a good performance from him, though it did turn out to be good enough, thanks to the bullpen and also to the offense, which continued to pile on as we mowed through the Reds’ bullpen. Owings homered to bring in Goldy and Lamb in the bottom of the fifth. 9-5 DBACKS
Ahmed singled and scored in the sixth, along with Ketel Marte, to came in to pinch hit for Koch and stung a double down into the left field corner. Marte came in to score on a Goldschmidt groundout. 11-5 DBACKS
The final run came in the bottom of the eighth, when some hapless bastard named Tanner Rainey walked Jake Lamb with the bases loaded to bring home Marte, who had remained in the game. 12-5 DBACKS
As for the Reds against our bullpen, they racked up five more hits, all singles, but Fernando Salas, Jorge De La Rosa, and TJ McFarland were effective in closing out the game in scoreless fashion. And that sentence felt really strange to type, given how Salas and JDLR have been performing lately. Strange, but good strange.
Anyhow. This was a big, needed win.
BELLS AND WHISTLES
Operation Overlord: Chris Owings, +25.3%, Nick Ahmed, +21.4%
Pearl Harbor: Matt Koch, -14.1%
Gameday thread was fairly lively for a Monday afternoon game, with AZDovs11, AzDbackfanInDc, BigSmarty, DBacksEurope, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jackwriter, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, PaulGoldsmith, Renin, ShirtOffYourBack, Sprankton, asteroid, gamepass, hotclaws, lildbackfan21x, onedotfive, samath, shoewizard, smartplays, suroeste in attendance, producing 669 comments overall. There was no distinctive CotG by popular acclaim, so I’m going with this one by suroeste (who also had a sick and righteous burn on Marana later in the thread), because I live in Tucson and am bitter about this too:
Here’s hoping we can do it again tomorrow. Happy Memorial Day, all!