D-Backs Win Two of Three Weekend Games on Stellar Pitching, Solid Hitting, and Luck, but Split Series with Brewers. Dodgers Tonight
|Justin Upton hits two homers in as many days this weekend, but the D-Backs lose Sunday.|
It was a four-game series that ended on a shadowy Texas Leaguer by Milwaukee Brewers center-fielder Mike Cameron.
The Arizona Diamondbacks won two of three over the weekend behind the pitching of Jon Garland and Dan Haren, who struck out 11 and allowed one run in eight innings Saturday night.
But they lost Thursday night to the Brewers at Miller Park and lost again Sunday in a game in which the Milwaukee stadium's notorious daytime shadows might've helped the home team get the winning run.
It happened in the bottom of the eighth, when Cameron hit a sky-high pop-up to shallow right field that dropped for a base hit. A classic Texas Leaguer, except for them damn shadows.
The D-Backs' Justin Upton hesitated for a moment, not able to locate the ball in the darkness above, before racing toward the descending white speck and catching it on one hop. He had no play and the bases were loaded. Chris Duffy then hit a hot grounder between first and second, and Felipe Lopez made a fantastic, diving grab. But Lopez's only play was to first base and a run scored, lifting the Brewers to what would be the deciding 4-3 margin.
The Miller field shadows have plagued many an opposing player, almost serving as a 10th man during sunny day games in the going-on nine seasons the stadium's been in use. Upton said after the game that he lost the ball in the blackness.
It was an exciting game. The Brewers' big inning was the second, when round-mound first baseman Prince Fielder (it's amazing that this lard-ass doesn't stroke out running the bases) and Cameron hit back-to-back home runs. The Brewers scored again in the fifth on an infield single by Corey Hart.
The evil Milwaukee shadows had to be bitch-slapping Arizona for Big Tony Clark's lucky shot Friday night. Payback's a bitch, baby! More on that below.
Despite the Milwaukee runs, D-Backs starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit, who's sucked proverbial donkey dick in earlier outings this year, had a decent afternoon. Petit, who's amassed an 8.63 ERA, had four strikeouts and gave up only four hits and one walk in five innings.
Like we say, not bad for him. But the D-Backs will be a much better team when Petit drops out of the starting rotation with the return of ace Brandon Webb, who's expected to be out for another five weeks with a strain in his pitching shoulder. If Webb had been in the rotation over the past month, Arizona would surely be over .500. instead of 11-14.
The D-Backs' big inning on Sunday was the seventh, when third baseman Mark Reynolds, Upton, and catcher Miguel Montero hit back-to-back-to-back homers to tie the game 3-3. It was Upton's second dinger in two days and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Of note is that relief pitcher Tom Gordon freakishly injured his left leg when he tagged out a runner at home plate after a wild pitch.
On Saturday night, Upton hit a 440-foot homer in the seventh to help Dan Haren post a 4-1 victory. Haren, the National League's strikeout leader with an ERA of 1.47, dominated the Brewers and, unlike in too many outings this season, got the offensive help he needed. His record's now 3-3.
Milwaukee managed to get on the scoreboard against Haren in the sixth when Fielder popped a single just out of Eric Byrnes' reach in center to score a base runner.
On Friday night, Jon Garland, 2-1, had a superior start. He pitched six scoreless innings until he allowed two runs and gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Garland gave up seven hits, had no walks, and threw five strikeouts, including an impressive three in a row to get out of a jam in the sixth. Unfortunately, since the Diamondbacks were trailing when he left, his stellar outing didn't result in a win for him.
But what happened next did result in a win for his team. With runners at first and third and two outs, Upton jammed a pitch that worked the same as a bunt; it rolled slowly down the third-base line for an RBI single that tied the game. Clark then came to the plate to pinch-hit and blooped an opposite-field fly ball to left that, if you're a D-Backs fan, barely grazed the chalk for a double that scored two more runs. If you're a Milwaukee fan, you wuz robbed!
Next, catcher Chris Snyder added a single to drive in a run, and the game ended 5-2.
The 13-12 Brewers won Thursday night's game 4-1.
Next up: A two-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, starting tonight at 7:10. Probable starting pitchers: Doug Davis, 2-3, ERA 2.92, for Arizona; Eric Stultz, 2-1, ERA 5.50, for the Dodgers. TV: Fox Sports Net, Radio: KTAR 620, KSUN 1400.
The Dodgers are leading the National League West and the majors with an 18-8 record. They've been impossible to beat at home: They dominated the San Diego Padres 7-3 Sunday and set a franchise home winning record to start a season at 10-0 (which ties an MLB record).
Former D-Back Orlando Hudson's been playing out of his mind for L.A, batting .336 with three home runs. Hudson had a double and a single Sunday to drive in three runs. With the win, starting pitcher Chad Billingsly leads the National league with a 5-0 record in this young season. Bad news for Arizona: Slugger Manny Ramirez, batting .349 with five homers, took the day off Sunday with a sore hamstring but is expected to be back in the lineup tonight and Tuesday.