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It's not clear if the Arizona Diamondbacks were feeling the effects of too much Easter candy or if there's some other attributable cause, but this team did not look ready to play. Fortunately, they woke up and showed up in the sixth inning to notch another come from behind win.
Down six runs they fought back to sweep the Giants with a 7-6 win. The magic is back. What a game. What a team.
"That one will make you smile," manager Kirk Gibson said with a smile after the game. "It really does. The guys battled. It was an interested game and we got the job done. We competed very well today."
It all started with starting pitcher Josh Collmenter, who looked good in the first inning but then gave up six runs over the next two before ending his day early with just three innings pitched.
In the field, the D-backs recorded a total of five errors, just one shy of a franchise record, with Parra, Montero, Bloomquist, Roberts and Hill getting in on the "fun".
Surprisingly, momentum in this game turned around in the field.
In the sixth inning after yet another error, Roberts made a great play on a ball hit by pitcher Matt Cain. Roberts was charging for the expected bunt when Cain pulled back and slashed the ball right at him. Ryan was able to snag the ball and get an out.
In the next half inning, the D-backs seemed fed up and woken up and put three runs on the board. Roberts went yard for a two-run home run which was followed by a solo shot from Lyle Overbay who made a couple of nice plays in the field.
Despite Roberts heroics, the star of the game, however, was reliever Wade Miley.
Miley came in for Collmenter in the fourth inning and pitched four frames without giving up a run. He allowed no hits and just two walks and overcame four errors to keep the D-backs in the game long enough for the batters to figure out Matt Cain.
"We just needed someone to stop the bleeding and Miley did a great job. We played horrible defense behind him but he was still able to keep his composure which shows a lot for him," Overbay said after the game.
Things got crazy in the D-backs seventh inning. Down 6-5, they put two across thanks to two walks and two errors.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford booted a bases-loaded ball from Montero that allowed Bloomquist to score from third. Chris Young followed that with a bouncer to third that Pablo Sandoval threw slightly off the plate, but it was Buster Posey who didn't stay on the dish and was charged an error, his second of the game.
We have to wonder if Posey is thinking about protecting his feet and ankles from the sliding runner. That miscue allowed Aaron Hill to score on the fielder's choice and the D-backs were ahead 7-6 after trailing 0-6 earlier in the day.
With David Hernandez and J.J. Putz unavailable after pitching the first two games, Gibby went to new-comer Craig Breslow in the eighth and young Bryan Shaw in the ninth. Breslow allowed a walk and then got a strike out and a double play. Shaw, a closer last season for AAA Reno before being called up, allowed two base runners before striking out Buster Posey with three pitches to get the win.
Shaw, looking more nervous facing his first large media crowd than he did on the mound against Cabrera, Sandoval and Posey, said he threw all cutters. "Obviously, it was real exciting, the first (save) of my professional career."
The D-backs bullpen, without Hernandez and Putz, allowed just one hit and no runs over six runs.
What a game. What a team.
The D-backs are off Monday and then head to San Diego for their first road series of the season.
Pregame notes and lineups for D-backs vs. Giants on Sunday, April 8.
For the second game in as many days the Arizona Diamondbacks didn't waste any time putting numbers up on the board. Aaron Hill hit the club's third, first inning home run of the season and Chris Young doubled in Justin Upton to take a two-run lead.
The Giants battled back a few times over the course of the game but the D-backs never gave up the lead and won 5-4 for the second time.
Hill homered again in the second inning to build that lead to four but Dan Hudson wasn't quite in mid-season form as he gave up four runs of his own before leaving the game with a 5-4 lead in the seventh.
"He had great stuff. I just told myself to relax," Hill said.
The Giants did their damage in the fourth inning when big Pablo Sandoval crushed a ball to right that plated himself and Melky Cabrera. That shot cut the D-backs lead in half.
After another RBI double from Chris Young, the Giants used a pinch-hit, two-run homer from Brett Pill in the seventh to close the gap again.
We were left with a classic battle of the bullpens with the D-backs nursing a one-run lead for two and a third innings. Bryan Shaw did his job in the seventh and David Hernandez was lights out in the eighth. The Giants bullpen were just as good, holding the D-backs to just one run over four innings.
The game ended, as 45 others did last season, with a J.J. Putz ninth inning save.
Giant's starter Madison Bumgarner went just four innings, giving up four runs and two walks and those two home runs to the second baseman, Aaron Hill.
Daniel Hudson went 6.2 innings with five hits, four runs, four strikeouts and four walks. He also had two hits and scored a run.
"(Hudson) threw the ball fine. He threw his worst pitch of the game to Pill," Kirk Gibson said. "He gave us six and two-thirds innings. That's a great effort. Bryan Shaw came in and cleaned it up and David (Hernandez) and J.J. (Putz) threw the ball well today."
Josh Collmenter will face Matt Cain in the series finale on Sunday.
The Arizona Diamondback and San Francisco Giants play Game 2 of their season-opening series on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. The game will will be broadcast on Fox TV with Dan Hudson facing off against Madison Bumgarner.
Manager Kirk Gibson, just two days into the 2012 season, shows no sign of changing his tendency to have a constantly shifting batting order. Chris Young batted second on opening day and will be in the five hole on Saturday. Here's the full lineup:
Gibson explained that he wanted to have two right-handed hitters in his batting order to split his lefties Montero and Kubel. This way the Giants might have to use an additional pitcher out of their bullpen in a late game situation.
The Giants lineup is:
-- Takashi Saito coming along with his calf injury that landed him on the 15-day DL to start the season. The injury wasn't serious and he will throw flat ground Sunday.
-- Gibby wasn't going to say who he will use in the 7th inning with Saito out. He used Joe Paterson for one batter on Friday in the seventh and generally doesn't want to throw bullpen guys back to back if possible. But he will still go with David Hernandez and J.J. Putz in the 8th and 9th again if in the lead.
-- Gerardo Parra came in for Kubel on Friday and will continue to be used as a defensive replacement. Kubel had a quad injury in spring that's not 100% and Parra is a "defensive weapon", according to Gibby. Kubel is good with it.
- Gibby said that Chris Young is a warrior and an impact player who always has a great attitude. "He's an extremely confident young man."
The Arizona Diamondbacks won their Opening Day game over the San Francisco Giants in front of a sold out crowd at Chase Field. With the 5-4 win, the players and manager Kirk Gibson were right in good spirits after the game. Here is some of what was said in postgame interviews.
Kirk Gibson on the transition from spring training to the regular season:
"It's way different than managing a spring training game. There's a lot of excitement, a lot of fans. And your moods are just different, so I thought we just responded well to it."
"When we go through the end of spring training, we know they're looking forward to the season. There's 10 days left and you're trying to push them to push and they kind of look at you with crossed eyes. Like I said, our workouts before the games in spring training were great. They were exceptional. We played a clean game today. The guys did good and as far as making the right decision, getting one out there in the last inning and not try to get two and make a great play. There was definitely a different intensity tonight and it was a good baseball game."
On Chris Young's success at the number two spot in the lineup:
"Today it was good. It doesn't always work out that way, but it's one of the reasons I wanted him up there. He can hit the ball out of the park, he's got speed."
"I think he's 6/10 against him now (note: it is actually 6/11), three home runs and a double. Hopefully it continues. It's one of those things. There's probably no reason for it, but he got ahead there when he hit his home run. It was a 3-1 fastball and didn't miss it."
On Ian Kennedy's performance:
"Ian made a couple of mistakes, they jumped on him and tied it up there....I have great confidence in Ian. He;s a control pitcher. He moves the ball around. He knows what he is doing...He always keeps his composure. That's one of the reason I started him. He believes in himself and he knows how to regroup when it's time. He threw a good game and it's fitting he gets the win tonight."
On Tim Lincecum:
"What a competitor that kid is. He just has a way about him and he's hard to predict an he's always a challenge. I know he's done very well against us, and I think the last four games we've done well against him. He is as good a competitor as I know."
Paul Goldschmidt on his own success against Lincecum:
"I don't know. i was able to get a good hitter's count today and got a fastball to hit, and as with any pitcher, we try to get a good pitch to hit. It's only been a few with me, so hopefully I have a little more to come."
On the Opening Day excitement:
"There's definitely some excitement. It's Opening Day. It's exciting. It's fun. Everyone's ready to go and so it's nice to get out there and really leave relaxed and calm you nerves, and hold on for the win."
Ian Kennedy on his performance and the bullpen:
"I wasn't happy with my command. It wasn't the greatest. I feel like I was just really happy how I battled all the way through and it was a good team. Going and pitching into the seventh inning against these guys, it was really nice...I was happy I could pitch into the seventh and know I could pass the ball to Joe Pa (Joe Paterson), who is a great reliever. He just pounded the strike zone. Same thing with David (Hernandez). He did really good, and J.J. ...Our bullpen, I think it's one of the best."
Chris Young on where he hits in the lineup:
"With Gibby and just the type of team that we have, you just have to be ready to hit anywhere in the lineup because we have so many versatile guys...I wouldn't be surprised if I'm hitting second one day, hitting fifth the next day and leading off another day. So as long as you show up ready to go, they're really not going to catch you off guard."
Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.
Opening Day was not quite what you expected with Tim Lincecum on the mound facing Ian Kennedy, but the excitement of the game was just what the fans had hoped. The Arizona Diamondbacks touched the Giants ace for three first inning runs on two home runs and rallied for two more runs in the sixth inning to
Willie Bloomquist led off the bottom of the first with a single and Chris Young homered to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead. Two outs later, Paul Goldschmidt hit his third career homer off of Lincecum.
The Giants got two runs back in the fifth inning when right fielder Melky Cabrera homered. In the sixth, San Francisco tied the score on a pair of hits, a sacrifice bunt and an RBI groundout by Brandon Crawford.
However, Arizona rallied in the bottom of the sixth and chased Lincecum. Justin Upton doubled, moved to third on a flyout by Miguel Montero. Then Goldschmidt walked, Jason Kubel reached on a Buster Posey error and Ryan Roberts hit a bases-loaded double to score two.
Kennedy got the first two outs of the seventh inning, then allowed a pair of base hits. Joe Paterson came on in relief to retire Aubrey Huff to end the inning.
David Hernandez pitched a perfect eighth inning and J.J. Putz closed things out after allowing a run on a double by Pablo Sandoval, netting his first save of the season.
Lincecum pitched 5.1 innings and allowed five earned runs on six hits. He struck out seven.
Kennedy went 6.2 inning, allowing three runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked two.
Two Hr in the first inning
Meatballs, Victoria's Secret clothing options and much more, now coming to you from Chase Field.
Arizona opens the season against the rival San Francisco Giants.
In the fifth and final part of the series, writer Cody Ulm makes his final predictions for this season and hands out some hardware.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will kick off their 2012 season by hosting division rivals the San Francisco Giants. Can The D-backs repeat as NL West champs?
In part four of a five part series, writer Cody Ulm looks at all four of the D-backs' division rivals to see which one poses the biggest threat as Arizona looks to repeat as NL West champs.
In part three of a five part series, writer Cody Ulm looks at which minor league up-and-comers could make an impact as soon as this season with a surprising 2011 prognosis for Trevor Bauer.
As the Arizona Diamondbacks get ready to start their regular season Friday against the San Francisco Giants, the previews of the different divisions have begun. While the Diamondbacks had unexpected success in 2011, much more is expected in 2012.
One such preview in the USA Today, breaking down the NL West, was critical of the D-Backs, especially the starting rotation.
An unnamed scout had harsh comments for both Josh Collmenter and Trevor Cahil, currently tabbed as the number three and four starters in the Arizona rotation.
Said the scout in the article:
Their starting pitching looks like a mess. Cahill looks like he's throwing (batting practice) out there; his ball isn't sinking at all. He was supposed to be a No. 2 starter but looks no better than a No. 4, and that's being nice. I'm not sure Collmenter would make hardly anyone else's rotation. His velocity is just 86 to 88 mph.
Both pitchers have had their struggles in the spring. Collmenter has allowed as many homeruns (five) as he has gotten strikeouts.
Cahill has been trying to get a feel for his thing in the rotation. He needs to look more like he did in 2010 and Collmenter just needs to continue with the trend of stepping up when he gets criticized.
We won't know more until the bright lights of the regular season begin, but Arizona is going to have to count on both of these pitchers to be consistent. If they continue to struggle, the season for the D-Backs could turn interest away quickly.
That would be a shame.
In part two of a five part series, writer Cody Ulm looks at the D-backs incredible pitching depth and makes some bold predictions regarding Josh Collmenter and J.J. Putz.
In the first of a five part series, writer Cody Ulm analyzes the D-backs' lineup from top to bottom while pondering if the defending NL West champs will be able to sustain their timely hitting from 2011.