The Arizona Diamondbacks faced a team with almost as many issues as they have Friday afternoon in Peoria, and one of those issues reared it's ugly head for the Seattle Mariners - the need for a capable closer.
Of course, the D-backs didn't go without some adversity of their own -- closer J.J. Putz couldn't make his scheduled appearance against his old team because of back spasms he felt while warming up. So Kam Mickolio, another pitcher who was once property of the Mariners organization, came on in the ninth and loaded the bases. But he escaped unscathed as Arizona won 8-5.
The Diamondbacks trailed 3-1 after home runs by Luis Rodriguez and Milton Bradley, but took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning on RBI hits by Kelly Johnson and Willie (another former Mariner) Bloomquist. The Mariners tied it at 4 in the bottom of the inning and went ahead 5-4 when Micah Owings appeared to have gotten out of a jam, but sub second baseman Zach Walters couldn't complete a 6-4-3 double play when he threw high to first base. That allowed a run to score in the bottom of the eighth.
So all the Mariners had to do was hand the ball to de facto closer Brandon League and send their fans home happy. Except League, a guy bound for a spot as a late inning reliever but forced to be a closer in the absence of the injured David Aardsma, couldn't get any Diamondbacks out until it was too late.
For D-backs fans, four runs on three walks, an error, a wild pitch, a hit and a sac fly from mostly roster hopefuls and reserves were cooler than the guy who walked the aisle looking like Ric "Wooooo!!!" Flair. You had to be at Peoria Stadium to see it. Blond hair, tanned and bare chest... a dead ringer.
Daniel Hudson gave up three runs on three hits in four innings for the D-backs and struck out four. Juan Gutierrez tossed a scoreless inning.