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Arizona Diamondbacks 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 1: Taijuan WWWWWWWWWWWWWalker leads the way

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MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 82-58. Pace: 95-67. Change on 2016: +24.

The streak lives! Well, one of them, anyway. The run of consecutive innings without being behind was stopped, but the one that matters - consecutive wins - remained alive. The Diamondbacks took their 13th consecutive victory, breaking a franchise record which had stood since 2003 - though it’s still not the longest active winning streak in MLB. Damn you, Indians! It also guaranteed Arizona their first winning season since 2011, with twenty-two games remaining on the schedule. The victory, and results elsewhere, reduced the team’s magic number for a post-season spot to 14, and for home-field advantage in the wild-card game to 16.

But, hey: The Dodgers’ lead is down to 10.5. 10.5 games have evaporated off it in 12 days... #JustKeepWinning

At least the Diamondbacks didn’t draw out the drama with regard to their streak of innings without trailing. That was ended at 97, three short of the record, as the Dodgers took the lead in the first. Arizona did have a chance to get on the board there, after David Peralta and Chris Iannetta singled, to put two on with nobody out. Jake Lamb flew out to the warning track, and a wild pitch then advanced both runners for J.D. Martinez. But he struck out, and Daniel Descalso just missed a two-run single, robbed by a diving catch that was just snow-coned enough by the LA left-fielder to stay in his glove.

Unlike the D-backs, the Dodgers took advantage of their runner on second with nobody out. That man reached after a hard smash to third was mangled by Jake Lamb - though scored as a double, it’s the kind of play I felt should have been made. A sacrifice fly advanced the runner; after a walk, the D-backs weren’t quite able to turn the subsquent double-play, and the streak died. It was, however, fun while it lasted. The trailing did not last long, however. A.J. Pollock reached on an infield error, stole second, and then came home when Taijuan Walker doubled into the gap in right-center, tying the score back up at 1-1.

Things remained that way through the departure of both starting pitchers, they they were not really equally effective. Kenta Maeda settled in after looking rocky early, and seemed to be mixing up his pitches much more effectively, than when the D-backs faced him in Arizona last week. But Walker was struggling with his fastball command: through four innings, he had thrown 76 pitches, with less than half (37) for strikes, and more walks (3) than strikeouts (1). He put the Puig on to lead off both the second and fourth innings, but got a double-play to eliminate the threat in the second, while Iannetta sent down a beautiful throw to catch the Puig stealing in the fourth.

However, Walker ended up out-lasting Maeda, going six innings, compared to five the Dodgers’ starter. Taijuan eventually settled in, retiring the last eight batters he faced. You can’t complain in the end about Taijuan’s overall performance, which extended the streak of very solid outings by the D-backs staff. Tonight, he gave the team six innings of one-run ball, with a final ratio of four strikeouts to three walks, and only four hits allowed. He threw 99 pitches, before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh.

That change provided immediate dividends. Ketel Marte led the frame off with a single, and Adam Rosales came off the bench to hit for Walker. He just missed a two-run homer, banging the ball off the outfield wall in left-center on the fly. Marte motored all the way around from first to score the go-ahead run. David Peralta followed up with a single, to put men on the corners, still with no outs. It looked like the D-backs would spurn the chance, as Iannetta struck out and Lamb grounded back to the mound, advancing only Peralta. The Dodgers opted - unsurprisingly, it has to be said - to walk Martinez, loading the bases to keep the platoon advantage. But a breaking pitch clipped Daniel Descalso’s back arm, driving in a third Arizona run.

The ball was turned over to the Diamondbacks bullpen, to protect the lead. Jorge De La Rosa pitched a fairly uneventful scoreless seventh, with the help of a double-play. Archie Bradley’s eighth inning was rather more... tense. He made a great play for the second out, knocking the ball down, then spinning to grab it, and firing a strike to Descalso at first. But on a much easier comebacker from the next batter, he fired it into the seats. Fortunately, he got Corey Seager to ground out, and the two-run edge remained intact. Fernando Rodney had a clean ninth, though fell behind a bit too much for my TOTAL liking. But, save #36 it was, and with it, consecutive win #13.

The Dodgers lost, but the Cardinals won, overtaking the Brewers for the spot of first non-wildcard team. This gives us a 7.5-game advantage over the Rockies - who will be playing the Dodgers in a four-game series starting tomorrow. So the D-backs won’t be in action themselves, but will end the day either half a game closer to Los Angeles, or half a game further in front of Colorado. Enjoy the day off, Diamondbacks. You have taken a potentially very tricky set of series, and rolled through it 9-0. Hell, we are now 15-1 since the total solar eclipse on August 21. May we not lose again until the next one...

Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
Smarter than a 5th-grader: Taijuan Walker, +22.6%
As smart as a 5th-grader: Adam Rosales, +21.7%
Seriously not as smart as a 5th-grader: Jake Lamb, -13.9%
Not as smart as a 5th-grader: Drury, -12.5%; Martinez, -12.2%

Present in the Gameday Thread for this historic victory were Anachronistic1, BobDolio, Cumulus Choir, DORRITO, Dcarbajal, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Imstillhungry95, Jackwriter, JoelPre, Justin27, LamparT, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Oldenschoole, PaulGoldsmith, SongBird, TinySarabia, asteroid, coldblueAZ, edbigghead, hotclaws, kilnborn, luckycc, onedotfive, since_98 and smartplays. Comment of the night to coldblueAZ, after the demise of the “untrailing” streak in the first inning.

Mission accomplished, folks. An off-day for the D-backs tomorrow, as noted above, before they start a home-stand on Friday night against the Padres. We’ll be there in person, it being SnakePitAsteroidFest, to see if the streak can be extended to a 14th victory.