Arizona Diamondbacks Start Season Off Right With Win Over San Diego Padres
Ace Dan Haren was awesome, Stephen Drew hit a bizarre inside-the-park home run, and Kurt Warner threw out the opening pitch -- not a bad way to start the 2010 baseball season, and a D-backs win was the icing on the cake.
After finishing last season in the basement of the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks kicked off the new season with a 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres yesterday, and looked like a team that could actually win a few games this year.
We're not getting our hopes up too high just yet -- it was the Padres, and it was at home, but after last year, we'll cling to any good news the Rattlers have to offer.
Haren was lights out for the D-backs, allowing only one run and striking out four without a walk in seven innings pitched.
The D-backs ace retired 19 of the first 20 batters he faced, which included 15 in a row between the second and seventh innings.
"His name should be mentioned up there with the likes of Roy Halladay and [CC] Sabathia, those guys that are perennial award winners," D-backs coach A.J. Hinch says of Haren. Press. "He hasn't got a ton of attention."
That lack of attention might be, in part, because the team he plays for lost 92 games last year, but we weren't counting or anything.
Haren got plenty of help from the offense in yesterday's win -- a luxury he certainly didn't have last season.
Justin Upton, the D-backs $51.25 million man, went two for four in the win and scored the second run of the game off of a Miguel Montero single in the first inning.
Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the third inning -- bringing Upton home again -- giving the D-backs a 4-0 lead.
The D-backs final two runs came off a hit that resembled something you'd see ricochet off the Green Monster at Fenway Park, not at the state-of-the-art Chase Field.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Haren got on base because of a throwing error by Padres third-baseman Chase Headley.
D-backs left-fielder Conor Jackson popped out, and that's when Stephen Drew stepped to the plate with one on and two out.
Drew crushed a ball that, if hit anywhere else in the stadium, would have been an instant home run, but because of the lip created by an awning in the stands in center-field, Drew had to work for his homer.
Drew's 413-foot jack hit the awning at an awkward enough angle that it sent the ball flying back into shallow center field and away from the Padres outfielders, who had played the ball -- as they should have -- like a potential deep home run.
The speedy Drew was on the move as the Padres outfielders scrambled to recover the ball, and by the time they did -- and were able to make a play -- Drew and Haren had already crossed the plate, giving the Diamondbacks a 6-0 lead.
While the first eight innings proved to be a successful outing for the D-backs, the ninth demonstrated where the Rattlers need a little help: The bullpen.
In the top of the ninth -- with the D-backs resting on a comfortable five-run lead -- reliever Bob Howry gave up two back-to-back, two-out home runs to Kyle Blanks and Adrian Gonzalez, which narrowed the Arizona lead to three.
Luckily, Howry managed to get the next batter, Headley, to line out to second, saving the game for the D-backs and setting the tone for what we hope is a promising season for the Rattlers.
The Diamondbacks continue their three-game series with the Padres tonight. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona. For more info on the D-backs, click here.