September 21, 2011 | 6:04pm
The Arizona Diamondbacks' recently dormant bats finally came alive this afternoon, and it couldn't have been at a better time.
The locals held on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-5 at Chase Field in front of a lively crowd of about 25,000, all of whom seemed well-aware that the team is on the cusp of an improbable NL West crown.
The magic number--any combination of two wins by the D-Backs, two losses by the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants in the final six games of the regular season will clinch the division title.
With the Giants coming to town for three games this weekend, Arizona can win the thing as early as Friday night (hopefully a sellout).
Actually, it would be poetic justice if 20-game winner Ian Kennedy threw his usual stellar game against San Fran on Sunday afternoon to win it all, but we're sure that manager Kirk Gibson would rather take a W on Friday night and move along.
Arizona hit early and often against Pittsburgh in today's contest, with Miguel Montero, Aaron Hill and (gulp!) Chris Young having big games.
Things got tense for awhile in the late innings, but Mr. J.J. Putz earned his 42nd save of the year by blowing away the Pirates in the 9th.
A big win, and if the Giants lose again to the hated Dodgers tonight, the magic number will be but one.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are almost home!