Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 7:20 a.m.
How many pitchers does it take to give up nine runs -- including five home runs -- to the St. Louis Cardinals?
For the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, the answer was half of them.
There are 12 pitchers on the D'Backs active roster, and six of them pitched last night.
The D'Backs put up six runs, so that plan didn't work out too well.
D'Backs starter Joe Saunders entered last night's game at Chase Field with a 1.24 ERA. That number doubled after giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
That's not quite surprising, as the Saunders pitching last night resembled the Saunders of last season a lot more. It's probably why good starts are called "starts."
Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal came to the plate as the first batter in last night's game to face Saunders.
He drove a pitch from Saunders 441 feet, and over the fence.
The guys who are hard to get out on the Cards' roster -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday -- were both retired by Saunders.
Then Allen Craig kept the inning going with a single. David Frees brought him home with a deep double. Yadier Molina scored Frees with a single.
And that's what the beginning of a pitching disaster looks like.
The Diamondbacks' batting wasn't quite a disaster; it just sucked.
Gerardo Parra led off the bottom of the first with a triple, and he camped out on third base while everyone else just spent time occupying the batter's box.
Saunders returned in the second, and retired the side. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn did the same in his half.
Unfortunately, Saunders came back to pitch in the third, as Beltran and Holliday hit a pair of bombs off him on their second at-bats.
Saunders ended up getting out of the inning giving up just one more hit.
Unfortunately, Saunders came back to pitch in the fourth. Saunders loaded up the bases this time, and before Saunders could wreck the game even more, he was pulled in favor of Brad Ziegler.
Ziegler started off his appearance by walking in a run, but managed to end the inning by getting Freese to hit into a double play.
After walking in the run, Ziegler managed to keep the Cardinals at seven runs, and was replaced by Mike Zagurski in the sixth. Zagurski seemed to know how to get pitches into a mitt in the strike zone without being bombed over fences 400 feet away, and got through the sixth.
In the bottom half, the D'Backs decided to get the bats going. Miguel Montero singled, and Cody Ransom managed to take a ball to TGI Friday's Front Row in the upper deck -- reservation for two.
Several batters later, Ryan Roberts brought in two runs. Several batters after that, Parra batted a run in, and Montero followed suit.
It was somehow a ballgame after six innings, 7-6.
Then Brian Shaw came in for the Diamondbacks to start the seventh inning. He must have been taking cues from Saunders, because his first batter, Craig, went yard. Freese, the next batter, did the same.
Shaw managed to escape without any more damage.
With the Cardinals up 9-6, the D'Backs brought in another reliever for the eighth, David Hernandez, who was shaky, but didn't give up runs.
Craig Breslow was apparently the only pitcher who was prepared to throw like a big leaguer, as he struck out the side in the ninth to put D'Backs pitchers out of their misery for the night.
In the bottom of the ninth, the D'Backs managed to bring the tying run to the plate with one out.
If you've been watching the D'Backs lately, don't be surprised when we tell you nothing good happened. Lyle Overbay struck out, and Aaron Hill grounded out.
Good luck to D'Backs starter Ian Kennedy and closer J.J. Putz tomorrow against the Cardinals, as they're the only two pitchers who are both fresh and available to pitch.