Arizona Diamondbacks Topple Colorado Rockies in 11th Inning; Take Two out of Three in Home Series
For eight innings, Arizona Diamondbacks hitters looked like they were swinging at golf balls with tooth picks -- seemingly en route to being shut out by the Colorado Rockies in the last of a three-game series at Chase Field.
Yet with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Diamondbacks left fielder Gerardo Parra hit a home run just over the wall. One out later, center fielder Chris Young did the same.
D-Backs right fielder Justin Upton struck out to end that ninth at a score of 2-2, but he'd have his redemption two extra innings later.
After Young hit a ball to deep center field that came high off the wall for a double -- and second baseman Kelly Johnson struck out -- Upton came up with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning.
He hit a weak fly ball to right field, but Rockies right fielder Seth Smith was playing out in space near the outfield wall, and a full-on sprint and dive still landed several feet short of the ball -- scoring Young and giving the Diamondbacks the 3-2 walk-off victory.
Rockies starting pitcher Jason Hammel looked like an ace facing the D-Backs bats -- allowing just four hits through seven innings and no runs.
But his pitching wasn't any more spectacular than Arizona's starter -- Ian Kennedy -- who ended with six hits through six innings and two runs.
The D-Backs left 13 on base throughout the game, and just couldn't mount a decent offense in almost nine straight innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Diamondbacks had a viable chance to score at least one run -- thanks only to the application of a Deadball Era rule.
That's right, Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt was called on an ancient spitball rule -- twice.
Betancourt was twice called for bringing his pitching hand to his mouth while on the mound -- an offense that automatically calls a ball.
The first time -- in a 1-1 count to catcher Miguel Montero -- it led to a walk.
Third baseman Melvin Mora came to the plate after Montero, and it looked like the only possibility to score any runs for the Diamondbacks.
Mora fouled off seven pitches that at-bat -- one of which was just foul of a home run pulled to left field -- but eventually ended the inning on a swinging strikeout.
The home plate umpire had just dusted off a rule created in 1920 to give the Diamondbacks a base runner, and they couldn't capitalize on it -- even though it worked out with the help of a few extra innings.
What really won the game for the D-Backs was their bullpen -- which, for longtime Diamondbacks fans, probably sounds like a sick joke.
But it's true -- five innings of relief pitching, no runs, and only one hit allowed.
One of those relievers, rookie southpaw Joe Paterson, has yet to give up a run in 6.1 innings of work.
He has an amazing sidearm delivery that dumbfounds left-handed hitters, as the sweeping pitches look like they're coming in from first base.
Paterson retired all three batters he faced last night, one by strikeout.
On a side note, we're still wondering why second baseman Kelly Johnson is still playing baseball at the major league level -- he went 1-for-6 last night, and is batting .175 on the year.
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