The Arizona Diamondbacks got a roaring start to the new baseball season this past weekend as they swept the San Francisco Giants right out of Chase Field in their opening series.
The D-Backs beat their Bay Area rivals 5-4 on Friday night, followed by another 5-4 win on Saturday afternoon, and then capped it off with an epic 7-6 come-from-behind win yesterday.
Arizona provided plenty of excitement during all three wins, and -- more importantly - made a statement to both the Giants and the baseball world as a whole: Last season's pennant-clinching run (where they claimed the National League West crown) wasn't some fluke and they're gonna be just as competitive this year.
And they backed in up during all three games of opening weekend, overcoming San Francisco's ace pitchers, unleashing timely hitting, and even some trash-talking.
In many ways, the opening weekend's series against the Giants set the tone for what's sure to be a competitive battle in the NL West. San Francisco illustrated that they've rebounded from the problems that plagued them last season, including the loss of all-star slugger Buster Posey.
The wunderkind catcher was most definitely a threat all weekend long against the D-Backs, including knocking a pair of base hits on Friday during opening day at Chase Field. It wasn't enough to beat the D-Backs, however, as Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt got to San Fran's Tim Lincecum early with a pair of first-inning homers to put Arizona up 3-0. After the Giants tied things up in the sixth, Ryan "Tatman" Roberts pounded a two-run double to give Arizona all the runs it needed to win.
Meanwhile, ace pitcher Ian Kennedy earned the win with 6.2 innings of work, striking out three and allowing a trio of runs on nine hits.
The Arizona Diamondbacks get the win on Saturday afternoon.
His performance was aped on Saturday by Daniel Hudson, who went an equal distance on the mound and struck out four Giants batters. The rest of the D-Backs were also mimicking their opening day win by building an early 4-0 lead via homers from Young and Aaron Hill. San Francisco notched runs in the fourth from Pablo Sandoval and in the seventh from Brett Pill, but it proved to be futile. Another moonshot from Young and some solid innings by the Arizona bullpen (including work by JJ Putz, Bryan Shaw, and David Hernandez) put the win in the deep freeze for the D-Backs.
The Giants were, to put it mildly, frustrated by their losses to Arizona. It led to an interesting exchange at home plate during Saturday's game (which was captured by the camera's of Fox Sports Arizona) where catcher Miguel Montero told Posey to chill out and that it's gonna be a long season.
The Giants attempted to get some revenge on Sunday, building what seemed to be insurmountable 6-0 lead by the third inning, including a two-run homer by Posey. Too bad they forgot they were playing the D-Backs, who excelled at coming from behind last season.
It started in the fourth when Lyle Overbay doubled to deep right to bring in Montero and Young. Then came the bottom of the sixth, when Roberts and Overbay had back-to-back two-out home runs off of ace pitcher Matt Cain. Arizona then completed their comeback in the seventh, when Montero grounded into a fielder's choice and Willie Bloomquist scored to tie things up.
Then, in the game's most controversial play, Young grounded into another fielder's choice over to third, and Posey screwed up the catch at home plate, allowing Hill to sneak in for the go-ahead run. San Fran's manager Bruce Bochy got pissed while arguing that Hill had been tagged out at the dish, but the home plate umpire upheld his call and sent the Jints skipper to the shower.
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The crowd at Chase Field went wild as the hometown heroes eeked out a win in grand fashion while San Francisco's dugout looked just as angered as their manager. No doubt they'll remember this game when they return to Phoenix to play the D-Backs in mid-May.
Get comfortable and fasten those seatbelts, Diamondbacks fans, as its guaranteed to be a bumpy battle all season long in the NL West.
For the moment, however, Arizona is 3-0 and will travel to San Diego today for a three-game series with the Padres starting tomorrow night. Trevor Cahill will head to the mound against Edinson Volquez. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For more info, see www.dbacks.com.