No way the Diamondbacks want the supposed judgment day to come now. They're like Charlie Sheen - winning.
The Diamondbacks gave a crowd of 27,450 some fireworks before the actual postgame fireworks show, getting a home run from Stephen Drew, a big bases-loaded double from Ryan Roberts and a combined six hits and four RBI from Miguel Montero, Xavier Nady and Kelly Johnson, all in support of winning pitcher Ian Kennedy in their 8-7 win Friday.
Arizona won its fourth straight and sixth of the past seven games, but almost coughed up a pair of four-run leads. Minnesota trailed 8-4 going into the ninth inning and scored two runs off relievers Juan Gutierrez plus one off the typically reliable David Hernandez.
In the inning, Danny Valencia homered off Gutierrez followed by a Delmon Young single, and on came Hernandez, who had a 1.74 ERA and has been one of the most effective setup men in the game. Hernandez had an off night., giving up an RBI double and three straight walks.
With J.J. Putz unavailable for rest purposes, manager Kirk Gibson turned to Joe Paterson. All the rookie did was strike out slugger Jason Kubel and force former AL MVP Justin Morneau to ground into the defensive shift on the right side. Paterson got to first to cover for the long throw from Kelly Johnson to retire Morneau with the bases loaded, and Chase Field went wild.
Safe to say these moments of pulsating excitement and winning in the end have been pretty rare for the D-backs in recent years. When the crowd rose to its feet with two out in the ninth, it was a sign that this team is beginning to capture folks' attention and make the ballpark worth coming to.
"Fun game there. Standing on the railing with the bases loaded with one out and Minnesota's pressuring us, you say 'This is fun here.' It's a good feeling, it really is. That's why we do it."
Paterson earned his first career save and set the franchise record for most consecutive appearances without being scored on, 19.
"JoePa came in and picked him (Hernandez) up," Gibson said. "We got out of it."
The Diamondbacks had 11 hits and are 12-3 when they collect 10 or more hits in a game this season. They were also 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Gibson said the Diamondbacks will release first baseman Russell Branyan, opening up a roster spot for Micah Owings to make a start Saturday night.
"I really didn't think it was fair to the guys," Gibson said about his three-man rotation at first base with Branyan, Juan Miranda and Nady. "It was tough on our team. Russ has worked hard, he was in more of pinch-hit role and in the end we just felt we're going to move forward with one and we'll give Russell his release."
Ian Kennedy picked up the win to improve to 5-1. He lasted 7 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. His fourth straight win is a single-season career high.