Even when things are going well for the Arizona Diamondbacks, somebody or something takes a big ol' dump in their Cheerios.
For example, during Wednesday night's victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, star outfielder Justin Upton strained his right oblique while attempting to swipe second base in the ninth. (Upton has since been placed on the disabled list.) Then on Thursday afternoon, Pirate-basher Ryan Roberts, who has been on a tear of late, boarded a plane back to Phoenix to be with his wife while she gave birth to the couple's first child. (Awesome for the family and humankind, but not so great for an already-weak offense.)
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As a result, the D-Backs sent a pieces-part lineup to the plate that included Triple-A-Reno-recalled outfielder Trent Oeltjen against Pittsburgh starter Kevin Hart, who worked so deliberately that you could complete War and Peace between his pitches. But despite this and Mark Reynolds' undisclosed injury that forced the slugger to leave the game after the eighth, Arizona made it work during a twenty-one hit, 11-6 comeback win at Pittsburgh's PNC Park.
Down 6-5 heading into the eighth thanks to an own-worst-enemy effort by Max Scherzer (5.1 innings pitched, seven hits, five earned runs, four walks, and a wild pitch), Oeltjen stepped to the plate. The Australian and nine-year career minor leaguer, who had stroked a base hit in his first at-bat and also stole two bags, hit a high drive on a Jesse Chavez pitch that barely cleared the right-field fence for his first career homerun that tied the score at six.
In the top of the 12th, player of the game Alex Romero stroked a two-run double - his fourth hit of the night - that scored Augie Ojeda and Chris Snyder to break the six-all deadlock. Dan Haren (yes, that Dan Haren) added a sac fly RBI off of Steven Jackson (2-2) and Miguel Montero's single plated two more to complete the five-run, game-sealing inning. Leo Rosales pitched a perfect 12th to nail down the D-Backs' fifth-consecutive win and made the Pirates' 17th consecutive losing season (a record for any North American professional sports team) more of a reality.
Up next is a three-game tilt in the nation's capital against the Washington Nationals. The nation's worst club hasn't been playing like one of late, winning a season-best fifth- straight game yesterday with a dramatic, come-from-behind victory against the Florida Marlins. For tonight's 4:05 p.m. matchup, the lowly Nationals (37-72), who took two out of three from the D-Backs at Chase Field in early May, will send 23-year-old Collin Balester (1-1, 3.68 ERA) to the hill while Arizona is scheduled to start tough-luck loser Jon Garland (6-10, 4.26 ERA). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info at www.dbacks.com.