The Arizona Diamondbacks have shown this season that they are never out of games. They completed yet another comeback victory to beat the Florida Marlins and win their fifth-straight series. (It would be seven-straight except for the two-game split with the Padres in mid-May).
The hero of this game was its early goat. Daniel Hudson gave up four runs and seven hits (five for extra bases) in the second and third innings and seemed headed for an early shower. But somehow Huddy got his act together and lasted four more innings. His final line for the evening was seven innings, 10 hits, four earned runs, one homerun, three strikeouts and (the most important number of all) zero walks.
The only way you survive a night like that on the mound is to avoid putting runners on the bases via the walk and Hudson did that. He was getting hit extremely hard but managed to keep his poise and settle in. It was "Grit" personified and the rest of the team responded.
"(Hudson) saved our bullpen. He got us into some good options," manager Kirk Gibson said about the performance from his starting pitcher.
Down 4-0 by the third inning and getting nothing off Javier Vazquez, the team held firm until Ryan Roberts open things up in the sixth inning with a two-run homer which was immediately followed by a triple from Kelly Johnson who scored on a ground ball out.
Chris Young tied the game after a leadoff double was turned into a run in the seventh and then in the eighth Young hit another double that plated Stephen Drew.
The game seemed over in the bottom of the ninth when closer J.J. Putz took the mound following a three-strikeout eighth inning by David Hernandez. Putz had previously set a franchise record with 16-straight saves to start the season. He's been so automatic that even the thought of any other outcome was far from the minds of the Chase Field crowd. But all streaks much come to an end and Putz' did when he gave up a solo homerun to catcher John Buck on an 0-1 fastball.
It didn't matter though, Putz ended up with the win as the offense came through.
"He's picked us up all season," the D-backs' Justin Upton said. "I dropped a ball in the outfield earlier in the year, he came back and got the next out."
Willie Bloomquist made it from first to third on a short ground ball to the left side of the infield and and Upton plated him with a broken bat walkoff bloop single that fell in short right field near the line. Credit Bloomquist who was in motion on a hit and run for taking third in a heads up play.
One play that Gibson wanted to point out was a defensive stop from shortstop Stephen Drew. With the D-backs down 4-3 in the seventh, the Marlins led off with a hit. The runner, Chris Coghlan, took off on a hit and run play. The batter swung through the pitch and catcher Miguel Montero made a throw that could have bounced into center field as many of his throws to second do. Drew made the play and got the tag down.
"Those are the types of plays that people don't look at that much but had a huge influence on the game," Gibson said. Instead of a guy on second with nobody out, they erased the runner and got out of the inning unharmed.
Gibson was pleased with his team's ability to weather the early storm and avoid frustration. He sees his team growing closer by the game which helps their ability to grind out every contest.
With the win and a Giants loss to the Cardinals, the D-backs could be 1.5 games up on San Francisco in the NL West. A Giants win leaves them .5 game back. Arizona's next series is against the Washington Nationals for a four-game set at home. The Nationals are 24-31 on the season.