The Arizona Diamondbacks are almost there. With six games left in the season they hold a six game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL West and the magic number (combination of D-backs wins and Giants losses) is down to two.
The D-backs are off Thursday while the Giants have games Wednesday and Thursday night before coming to Arizona for a weekend series. If the Giants should lose both games, the D-backs would be forced to celebrate their division pennant on an off day. Kirk Gibson wouldn't reveal anything about the team's plans, adding that close J.J. Putz is handling that.
Gibson emphasized that Putz has added far more than his 43 saves. The skipper called him the "cement" that brings all parts of the team together.
The more likely scenario for clinching is a Friday show down with the Giants for all the marbles. If it comes to that, center fielder Chris Young is hoping for a full house.
"Hopefully it would be sold out. Hopefully it will be a packed house. We could definitely use the energy that the fans bring on games like that. It will be exciting, it will probably be playoff baseball atmosphere," Young said. (Young now has hits in eight of his last 12 games.)
A decent crowd of 25,296 saw this Wednesday afternoon day game get off to a good start. The D-backs popped for three quick runs behind a sac fly from Justin Upton (88 RBI) and then a two-run home run (his 18th) from Miguel Montero.
The D-backs piled on in the third inning, adding five more runs. The damage came from a series of hits (5) and walks (2) with Ryan Roberts and Aaron Hill driving in two runs each. Justin Upton batted twice in the inning with a lead-off single and the final out in the air.
Wade Miley got the win after pitching five innings with five hits, one walk and two runs allowed. He threw 89 pitches in his seventh start and improved to 4-2 on the season with an ERA of 4.15.
"Anytime the offense goes out and explodes like that it makes things a whole lot easier to go out and throw strikes and get out as quick as possible," Miley said.
The Pirates added a few a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth and were threatening to make the game interesting before Joe Paterson came in with runners on second and third and got a ground out from Ryan Doumit.
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