It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the history of baseball, but the Arizona Diamondbacks managed to overcome a stretch that saw 14 straight batters retired and defeated the San Diego Padres 4-2 at Petco Park on Tuesday night. Chris Young hit a home run off of Micah Owings in the top of the 11th, and JJ Putz came in and got the save for the third time in four games.
The game started out with a bang once again for Arizona, as they scored in the first inning for the third time this season. Paul Goldschmidt was the lucky winner of the “get a big first inning hit” raffle this time, socking a two-run double deep into the gap in left center. The play gave Arizona a 2-0 lead for starter Trevor Cahill, making his debut with the Diamondbacks, but that didn’t seem to calm him down too much.
In fact, Cahill was so amped up to make his Arizona debut that he ended up staying on the mound for an extra long time. He ended up throwing 48 pitches in the first two innings, and got into three-ball counts seven times in those frames. He walked five of those batters, but the key for Arizona was that the Padres didn’t manage to score any of those runners, so it gave Cahill an opportunity to settle down.
Chase Headley did end up scoring for San Diego in the third inning, but that was the last real trouble that Cahill got into. He ended up only walking one more batter in his remaining four innings of work, and only gave up the one earned run and two hits.
Unfortunately for Arizona, their bats went ice cold after the sixth inning, and they weren’t able to tack on any runs. It was after a Paul Goldschmidt single in the sixth that they ended up sending 14 hitters in a row to the plate and watching them all walk back to the dugout in disgust. That was partly a product of the very solid job that the San Diego bullpen did after Edinson Volquez left the contest, but also partly because the Diamondbacks just couldn’t make solid contact. They seemed perpetually out of sync for the most part, and it wouldn’t have surprised anyone to see the Padres pull this one off.
They seemed close to doing just that in the bottom of the sixth, when Brad Ziegler came in and looked like he was infected with the same wildness that had befallen Cahill. He threw 15 pitches, and only seven of them were strikes, and he allowed a triple to Orlando Hudson (although Young did misplay the ball in center field), and then a single to left field by Jason Bartlett, allowing San Diego to tie the game. Bryan Shaw did come in to clean up the mess, and didn’t allow any more runs.
Both teams traded scoreless innings into the top of the 11th, when the Diamondbacks finally broke through. Gerardo Parra got hit by a pitch that grazed his jersey, and Young ended up socking what turned out to be the game-winning home run to give them a 4-2 lead. Putz came in to get an uneventful save, and the D’backs ran their record to 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Tomorrow, Arizona will try to move their record to 5-0 when they play a matinee game with Joe Saunders taking the bump. The game starts at 3:35pm, and can only be heard on 620AM, as it will not be televised.
Player of the Game: Bryan Shaw
There was more than one player who could have gotten the honors tonight, but we’ll give it to Shaw because the bullpen guys not named Hernandez or Putz don’t get enough credit. He came in to clean up the damage after Ziegler struggled mightily, and he did a great job. He only threw 14 pitches in retiring all four batters he faced, and he struck out two batters in the process.
After getting the save on Sunday, he transitioned back into his role as a seventh and eighth inning guy like a charm, and if he can continue to provide that type of stability in that role, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, already great with a 1.15 ERA in 15.2 innings this season, will be even harder to beat.
-Justin Upton sat out the game with a thumb injury he sustained on Sunday, giving Gerardo Parra the start in right field. Gibson before the game had said he hoped Upton would be able to go Tuesday, but he ended up in right field to end the game, so it’s highly likely he will be back in the order for the afternoon tilt tomorrow.
-Gibson said in his postgame remarks that he had thought about having Young bunt with a runner on first in the 11th, but allowed him to swing away. It ended up working out for him, as Young blasted a home run.
-Gibson was very aggressive on the basepaths tonight, sending four runners and having three successfully steal on the battery of Volquez and Nick Hundley. Ryan Roberts ended up with his first two steals of the season, and Goldschmidt got one as well.
-Quote of the night, courtesy of my father. Concerned about Cahill’s rough start, he said “Trevor is like Wile E. Coyote trying to light a match in a dark shed: it’s going to light up and it will be full of dynamite.