PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 28: Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks follows through on a swing against the Cleveland Indians at Chase Field on June 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona won 6-4. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

D-backs Drop Series To Tribe In Sloppy Day Game

Are the 2010 D-backs back? Lets hope not, but it sure looked that way on Wednesday.

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Melvin Mora Released By Diamondbacks, Likely Replacement Geoff Blum

Melvin Mora, 39, was brought in to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the offseason as part of the move to add veteran presence in the club house and lineup. Mora was slated to share time with Geoff Blum at third base but when Ryan Roberts hit the cover off the ball during Spring Training and Blum went down with a knee injury, the plans changed.

Mora's started 30 games at third with Roberts getting 50 starts. It's a trend away from Mora that's been even more pronounced in recent weeks with Melvin only getting nine games in the month of June. The reason is pretty obvious. Mora is hitting just .230 this season and only .120 in the last month.

Manager Kirk Gibson announced during his postgame press conference that the Diamondbacks were releasing Mora effective Thursday, June 30. Gibson wouldn't say what the corresponding roster move would be, but it's likely that Geoff Blum, himself 37, will be brought off the disabled list and given a chance to share time with Roberts. 

It's possible that utility infielder Tony Abreu could get the call and a much, much longer shot that Bobby Borchering would get the bump. Abreu is at Triple-A Reno hitting well (.820 OPS) and Bochering is at A+ Visalia where his OPS is .813. Abreu is more of a middle infielder than a corner guy and Bochering, 20, is likely too young and not ready. Cody Ranson, the 35 year old journeyman third baseman in Reno is an option as well. He's a hitting .321 and slugging .632.

Blum is still the most likely choice. Here's the most recent update on his status:

Diamondbacks | Geoff Blum plays in rehab game - MLB Hot off the Wire
Geoff Blum (knee) played five innings in a rehab game Monday, June 27, and did not feel any ill effects from his knee. He is scheduled to play two more rookie games Wednesday, June 29, and Saturday, July 2, before joining Triple-A Reno to continue his rehab assignment. He does not have a timetable for his return but said he is making steady progress in his rehab.

Melvin Mora's had a great career which very well could have ended Wednesday with a pinch-hit strikeout. He was an All-Star in 2003 and 2005 and the AL Silver Slugger in 2004. Mora spent the bulk of his career with the Baltimore Orioles (2000-09).


Arizona Diamondbacks Bobble Away Series To Cleveland Indians

In the rubber match of their series with the Cleveland Indians, the Arizona Diamondbacks didn't look ready to play. The first few innings were some of the worst baseball we've seen from this team in a long time. The Snakes recovered their composure but were chasing the game the rest of the way and lost 6-2 to the Tribe.

Zach Duke started things off with nine hits (all singles) in the first three innings. He was quickly down 4-0 with Micah Owning warming in the pen before he managed to go five innings which was no small accomplishment given the start. Behind Duke, the defense was horrible.

While no errors were recorded, there were numerous examples of sloppy play. Twice, Kelly Johnson dropped the ball on the exchanged and failed to turn a double play. Ryan Roberts misplayed a hard hit ball off his glove and right into his face for a painful reminded of his mistake. Justin Upton once again overthrew the cut-off man with an ill advised throw to the plate that allowed the runner to advance to second. 

The bullpen allowed two runs over two innings with David Hernandez and newly-signed Yhency Brazoban responsible. The pitching staff overall gave up 15 hits in the game but the Tribe also managed to leave 15 runners on base. 

Offensively, all the D-backs could muster were solo home runs from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

The D-backs have a day off Thursday and then start a 10-game road trip before the All-Star break. They aren't back in Phoenix until July 15.


Walkoff HR By Wily Mo Pena Gives D-Backs 6-4 Win Over Indians

In the second game of the three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, a two-run homer by Carlos Santana tied the game in the ninth blew the chance for Daniel Hudson's tenth victory of the season, but Wily Mo Pena hit a walk-off two-run, pinch hit homerun to end the game for a 6-4 Arizona victory. It was his third homer of the season. 

Hudson pitched eight strong innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He also drove in a run with a double in the fifth inning. 

For Cleveland, Josh Tomlin was every bit as good in the battle of aces. Tomlin, who came in with nine victories, went seven innings. He also was very good with the bat, picking up a pair of hits and driving in a run of his own. 

After falling behind 2-0, Hudson drove in Gerardo Parra, who had tripled, to cut the deficit to one. Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Kelly Johnson homered (13) to tie the score.

The D-Backs rally in the bottom of the eighth can also be attributed in part to Hudson. Parra singled off of left-hander Rafael Perez and Hudson batted for himself to bunt him over to second. His sacrifice was successful and, as a result, when Kelly Johnson singled next, Parra scored the go-ahead run. Arizona added a run when Justin Upton singled to drive in Johnson, who had moved to second on the trow to try and get Parra out at the plate. 

J.J. Putz, who gave up the deciding homerun on Monday, blew his fourth save of the season in the ninth. After a leadoff walk, Carlos Santana homered to tie the score. Putz was pulled after two outs and newcomer Esteban Castillo got he final out. He picked up the victory, his first of the season.

The final game of the series will be on Wednesday at 12:40 AZT.

For more coverage of the Arizona Diamondbacks and reaction to Tuesday's game, visit AZ Snakepit.


Diamondbacks Bullpen Revamped, Vasquez And Shaw Replaced By Brazoban And Castillo

While not yet official, it seems Yhency Brazoban had been promoted to the 25-man roster from Reno along with left-handed reliever Alberto Castillo. The men getting sent down to make room for them are Esmerling Vasquez and Bryan Shaw.

The D-backs bullpen went from a strong start to the season to being 15th in the National League in June with an ERA of 5.71. Clearly, something needed to be done.

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Indians Survive Diamondbacks Rally, Cleveland Wins 5-4

Cleveland shook off its Bay Area sweep on Monday night, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 at Chase Field in Phoenix. 

The first inning was explosive, as the Diamondbacks and the Indians combined to score 5 runs. What began as an offensive display quickly changed into fast paced pitcher's duel.

Ian Kennedy gave up a two-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera before retiring any Cleveland batters. After giving up two runs (one earned) in his last 14 innings, Kennedy was off to a bad start.

Things got sticky once again in the sixth, when Kennedy gave up two more runs, including Lonnie Chisenhall's first career RBI. Still, Kennedy would remain in the game, pitching eight strong innings, striking out eight Indians and keeping his team in the game.

Mitch Talbot got off to an even worse start, allowing three runs in the first inning. Talbot only pitched five innings, but was able to rein in the Arizona attack after his shaky beginning. 

Joe Smith and Tony Sipp pitched two scoreless innings for the Tribe, and by the eighth inning it was looking bleak for the D-backs.

Wily Mo Pena pinch hit for Kennedy and hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to lead off the inning. Kelly Johnson stepped up to the plate against Vinnie Pestano and an epic battle ensued.

After failing to drop down a sacrifice bunt, Johnson fouled away several Pestano pitches before tearing into the 11th pitch of the at-bat, a rocket into right center that plated Pena and earned Johnson a game-tying triple.

The crowd of 25,726 went wild as Stephen Drew approached the plate, the leading run at third base and no outs in the inning. Patience was once again a virtue, as Drew quickly went down 0-2 before challenging Pestano, fouling off strikes and taking balls. Quickly, the count was full.

Drew couldn't deliver, and Pestano finally retired the D-backs shortstop on the tenth pitch -- a short popup to the outfield that wasn't far enough to create a sacrifice fly situation.

Justin Upton was intentionally walked, bringing up Chris Young with runners on first and third and one out. Pestano and the Tribe decided to slow down the pace of the game, with several pickoff attempts, mound meetings and an occasional refooting on the rubber. It visibly annoyed CY, who struck out swinging after what felt like 45 minutes.

After Rafael Perez replaced Pestano, Miguel Montero was struck out to end the threat.

The momentum was on Arizona's side, but Orlando Cabrera hit a two-out home run off of J.J. Putz to give Cleveland a 5-4 lead going into bottom of the ninth inning.

Ryan Roberts led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off of Indians closer Chris Perez. Willie Bloomquist laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved the tying run to second base with one out. After Xavier Nady flied out to right, Melvin Mora was Arizona's last chance.

Mora was unable to come up with the magic necessary, flying out to right field to end the game.

With the loss, Arizona drops to 43-37 on the season. With San Francisco out of action, the D-backs fall two games behind the pace in the NL West race.


Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cleveland Indians: Starting Lineups, Probables

Tonight is the first game of three between the Cleveland Indians and the Arizona Diamondbacks, with the first pitch being thrown at 6:40 PM tonight at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Both teams are faltering, with the Indians being swept in San Francisco and Arizona dropping two in a row to Detroit after starting their AL Central road swing 4-0.

The Diamondbacks will look to improve on their poor bullpen performances of late, while the Indians will focus on scoring more runs in the first place.

Arizona brings their ace, Ian Kennedy (8-2, 2.90) while Cleveland counters with the unpredictable Mitch Talbot (2-4, 4.91). Here are the starting lineups for both teams:

Arizona (43-36, second, NL West)

Kelly Johnson, 2B
Stephen Drew, SS
Justin Upton, RF
Chris Young, CF
Miguel Montero, C
Ryan Roberts, 3B
Juan Miranda, 1B
Gerardo Parra, LF
Ian Kennedy, P

Cleveland Indians, 40-36, second, AL Central)

Michael Brantley, LF
Cord Phelps, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Carlos Santana, 1B
Grady Sizemore, CF
Travis Buck, RF
Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Lou Marson, C
Mitch Talbot, P

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