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The Arizona Diamondbacks hit hot all game, going up 9-0 midway through the third inning and leading 12-3 midway through the fourth. Miguel Montero had two doubles in the first three innings that were good for five RBIs, Justin Upton added two RBIs of his own, and Zach Duke drove in two runs with a homer in the top of the third. Everything seemed to be going Arizona's way.
Then Duke forgot how to pitch. Though he had been hit pretty much all game, his undoing came in innings three through five, when he gave up three, one, and three runs, respectively, before being relieved by Micah Owings with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth.
Owings pitched two and a third innings of scoreless ball that seemed to get things back under control for the D-backs. But Bryan Shaw took the mound for Arizona in the eighth and promptly allowed two Marlins to get on base with a single and a walk. Joe Paterson came in and filled the bases by walking the pinch-hitting Greg Dobbs. Paterson was then relieved by Esmerling Vasquez, who completed the trinity of bullpen futility by allowing a single that scored two runs for the Marlins.
In a game that should have been a blowout closed out by the rarely used inhabitants of the bullpen, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson was forced to turn to closer J.J. Putz to ensure a save in what was a close 12-9 game in the bottom of the ninth.
It was a game that should have never been as nerve-wracking as it was, and though Gibson is likely to point to the team's offensive production as a positive, allowing a downtrodden team like the Marlins to score six unanswered runs had to have been frustrating, particularly considering the short time off before opening their homestand against the narrowly division-leading San Francisco Giants on Tuesday evening.
The Arizona Diamondbacks pulled back to within a half-game of the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants with their 5-1 win over the struggling Florida Marlins on Sunday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Daniel Hudson went six innings allowing only one earned run, and relievers David Hernandez and Aaron Heilman kept things locked down in the later innings to keep the offensively struggling Marlins out of contention.
The D-backs took an early 4-0 lead in the third inning, behind a two-run double from Stephen Drew in the top of the first, and, in the third inning, a solo home run from Ryan Roberts and a sacrifice fly from Xavier Nady that scored Stephen Drew. Gerardo Parra drove in Melvin Mora in the top of the ninth to put the game to bed.
The loss was Florida's tenth in their last 11 games and they are now at .500 for the first time since they were 5-5. The Marlins stranded 13 runners, despite getting at least one hit in every inning.
Arizona has now won three of four since breaking a three-game losing streak, and has won 21 out of their last 29 -- the start of their hot streak after being swept by the Giants.
The two teams close out the four-game series on Monday evening, with the D-backs looking to once against secure the division lead, providing the Giants lose to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday evening.
It wasn't the prettiest starts we've seen from Ian Kennedy but when the offense drops six runs in the fourth inning the starting pitcher can be forgiven for given up five runs of his own. The Arizona Diamondbacks tied the four-game series with the Florida Marlins with the 9-5 win on Saturday.
The fourth inning was one of those explosions that's always fun to see. Stephen Drew started things off with a solo home run and a couple of singles, a couple of walks, and a couple of doubles did the rest of the damage. A couple of more runs in the fifth were more than enough margin for the win.
Daniel Hudson takes the mound for a Sunday day game (10:10 a.m. PT) and will face Brad Hand. Credit Kennedy for making it through eight innings to give the bullpen a rest. Aaron Heilman pitched a scoreless ninth.
For more on this game, visit AZ Snake Pit
The Kings of Never Quit, aka the Arizona Diamondbacks, made it another close game, but couldn't completely overcome a five-run deficit nor beat the Florida Marlins at the game of longball in Friday night's loss at SunLife Stadium.
The Marlins tagged Arizona starter Joe Saunders for three home runs -- a two-run shot for Logan Morrison in the first, a two-run blast by Mike Stanton in the sixth and a solo shot by John Buck to make it back-to-back homers in the inning.
Buck also had the key RBI of the game with a two-out single to center off D-backs reliever Esmerling Vasquez in the seventh to drive in Omar Infante from second base. The D-backs had scored four runs in the top of the seventh to go from a 5-0 deficit to 5-4.
Justin Upton led off the frame with a triple, just the third hit off Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez. Upton scored on Stephen Drew's single and the rally continued with two out.
Miguel Montero muscled up for a two-run shot to straightaway center field to make it 5-3. Sanchez was taken out in favor of reliever Mike Dunn, then D-backs manager Kirk Gibson removed first baseman Juan Miranda for a pinch hitter, Xavier Nady. Nady made the skipper look like a genius by hitting a home run to right field.
Even after the Marlins went up 6-4 with Buck's hit off Vasquez, the Diamondbacks fought. Ryan Roberts tripled off Ryan Webb to lead off the eighth, but Webb fanned Kelly Johnson and Upton and Randy Choate came on to strike out Drew swinging.
Bryan Shaw, called up by Arizona earlier in the day, made his major-league debut when he came on in the bottom of the eighth for Joe Paterson with a man on second and nobody out. It was Shaw's trial by fire, and he struck out pinch hitter Scott Cousins (the guy who slammed into the Giants' Buster Posey's leg and injured him in a collision at home plate recently) before getting Emilio Bonifacio to ground out, walking Infante and Morrison to load the bases and inducing a flyout by Gaby Sanchez to end the inning.
Nady reached on a two-out single in the ninth, but the Marlins' Steve Cishek earned his first career save, retiring Parra on a ground out.
The Arizona Diamondbacks avoids the sweep in Pittsburgh and now get to face an even tougher Florida Marlins team who will be throwing their ace, Anibal Sanchez, in the first game. The Marlins (31-30) were recently beat 2-1 in a series by the D-backs and will have revenge on their fish breadth.
Here's the projected pitching match ups in the four-game series.
Games 1, 2, and 4 will start at 4:10 p.m. Arizona time while Game 3 on Sunday starts at 10:10 a.m. All four games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona with live game thread at AZ Snake Pit.
The D-backs made a roster move in the bullpen on Friday, calling up the closer from the Reno Aces, Brian Shaw. Zach Kroenke will head back to Reno.
Shaw, 23, was a combined 4-1 with 10 saves, a 2.37 ERA (8 ER in 30.1 IP) and .207 opponents average (23-for-111) with 11 walks and 24 strikeouts in 23 games at Reno and Double-A Mobile.
In 8 games for Reno, he went 1-0 with 3 saves, a 5.59 ERA (6 ER in 9.2 IP) and a .222 opponents average (8-for-36) with 3 walks and 9 strikeouts. In 15 games at Mobile, he went 3-1 with 7 saves, a 0.87 ERA (2 ER in 20.2 IP) and a .200 opponents average (15-for-75) with 8 walks and 15 strikeouts.
This will be Shaw's first stint in the Majors. He will wear No. 37.
Kroenke, 27, is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA (4 ER in 4.0 IP) and .333 opponents average (6-for-18) with a walk and 3 strikeouts in 4 games for the D-backs.
AZ Snake Pit has some interesting historical perspective on a turning point series between these two teams:
By May 18, 2008, the Diamondbacks were 5.5 games ahead in the NL West with a record of 28-16. And then they went to Miami. There were three games at what was then known as Dolphin Stadium. Webb, Haren and Micah Owings (people forget that he began that season 5-1) started the games, and all three lost in succession. In what would become a season-long trend, the offense failed them, scoring three runs total in the three games played, and the three aces pitched well but gave up a few poorly-timed hits that allowed for the Marlins sweep.
Since that fateful series, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a record of 222-282, a winning percentage of .440. The dynasty of young position players that D-Back fans were promised never occurred, the team's ace pitcher developed arm problems from which he has never recovered, they missed the playoffs in 2008 and has been in last place ever since.