SAN DIEGO — The magic number can now be counted on one hand. Arizona scored five runs to defeat the San Diego Padres and avoid the weekend sweep as the Diamondbacks’ are getting closer to their overall goal.
But, it has been a bumpy road for the D-backs since my last post. Arizona has gone 3-4 since the 10 year Anniversary of 9/11, while the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants have won eight straight.
It appeared a week ago that Arizona would cruse in for the division title, but San Francisco’s late run has postponed any kind of celebration in Phoenix for the moment. I believed that the D-backs would have had this thing wrapped in their upcoming series with the Pirates, but it looks as if the series with Giants this weekend will play a major factor in NL West champ.
I cannot think of anything more heartbreaking than leading a team by 8 ½ through mid-September, to just blow the lead and division in the final days of the season. Arizona currently has a five game lead over the Giants. However, Arizona closes out the regular season with nine games at home where they have been dominant as of lately, so the odds seem to be in Arizona’s favor. Maybe they should bring back the uniforms from the 2001 team.
A recurring theme for Arizona’s losses is the fact that they do not score runs despite strong efforts by their starters. The good news being is that Ian Kennedy takes the mound for the D-backs against a struggling Pirates team. Pittsburgh is the team to play as Kennedy seeks his 20th win and Arizona looks to cut their magic number further.
Joe Saunders (12-12) returned to .500 as he came within one out of pitching a complete game. San Diego hit back-to-back two out singles in the ninth and were threatening as a fielding error on Alberto Gonzalez’s single resulted in both runners advancing into scoring position. J. J. Putz though pitched the final out, getting Nick Hundley to strike out swinging for his 41st save.
The only mistake that Arizona made the rest of the game was in the third-inning. Cameron Maybin led-off the inning with a single, stealing second and advancing to third on the throwing error from D-backs catcher, Miguel Montero. Jason Bartlett’s RBI-groundout gave San Diego their lone run of the afternoon.
However, in the fourth, Montero backed up his error by tying the game with a leadoff solo blast to center. Paul Goldschmidt broke the 1-1 tie by also sending a solo shot into right field, giving Arizona a 2-1 lead through six.
The D-backs doubled their run total in the seventh as Gerardo Parra took a walk to start things off. A wild pitch with Aaron Hill batting allowed Parra to take second, and quickly Hill got himself an RBI, singling on a line drive to left and reaching third on a throwing error from outfielder, Kyle Blanks. Goldschmidt then drove in Hill on another hit to Blanks in left for a 4-1lead. Goldschmidt added his third RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly to give Arizona a final of 5-1.
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