|Clay Zavada gave up a costly base-on-balls last night, allowing the Dodgers to win.|
How do you spell "relief"? Here's a hint, it sure as heck ain't Z-A-V-A-D-A. That's because last night the mustachioed left-hander upended the Arizona Diamonbacks' chances of taking two straight against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine by forcing in the game's winning run on a walk.
Here's the set-up: The Snakes had rallied from a two-run deficit to knot the score at 3-3 in the sixth following a pair of back-to-back RBI swats by Rusty Ryal and John Hester (who had been called up from the Triple-A Reno Aces less than a week ago). Relief pitcher Leo Rosales loaded the bases in the adjacent frame after giving up a Rafael Furcal double and walking Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp. Manager A.J. Hinch then brought in Clay Zavada from the bullpen to face Andre Ethier and get his squad out of the inning, only to see his reliever give the slugger a base-on-balls and allowing Pierre to trot in for a forced run.
Ethier also broke the hearts of D-Backs fans in the eighth when he snatched a potential homer away from Brandon Allen when he caught the newbie's fly-ball at the left field fence in the eighth.
Arizona's loss on Tuesday evening was compounded by their continued failure to capitalize on opportunities (a recurring theme through out this depressing season). Sluggers Stephen Drew and Ryan Roberts helped load the bases in the opening inning after getting walked by Los Angeles starter Vicente Padilla (Justin Upton also motored to first when his bunt found a hole in the infield), but only one run was produced. There were also runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth frames with only one out, but nothing came of it.
Look at the bright side fans: There are less than 30 games left before we can close the book on 2009, including tonight's rubber match against the Dodgers. Max Scherzer (8-8, 4.26 ERA) handles the ball, while El Lay calls upon the dominant Chad Billingsley (12-8, 3.83). First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For more info: www.dbacks.com.