It was by no means perfect, but it'll do nicely.
The Arizona Diamondbacks won their last home series of the 2010 season by taking two of three victories from the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. It started off rather inauspiciously on Friday night with a 3-1 loss to the Boys in Blue, only to get better as the weekend went on as the Snakes won back-to-back games to close out their year at Chase Field.
One of Arizona's biggest heroes in the series was Daniel Hudson. The starting pitcher nearly went the distance on Saturday as he pitched 8.2 innings before interim manager Kirk Gibson pulled the plug. It's kind of a shame, really, since Danny had did some of his best work this season during the game (including throwing 70 strikes out of 112 pitches) until he chose to walk Andre Ethier with two away in the ninth.
His performance begs the question: Has science advanced enough to be able to clone Hudson for next year? Seriously. It certainly would help the Diamondbacks alleviate some of their many deficiencies, particularly the pitching problems that helped cost the team the game on Friday.
Barry Enright had his moments during his six innings on the mound during the first game of the series (including striking out four and only earning five hits), but he gave up two crucial triples to former D-Backs player Trent Oeltjen and El Lay all-star Andre Ethier in the middle innings that generated two runs. Coupled with a spotless pitching job by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw spelled certain doom for the Diamondbacks as Los Angeles triumphed 3-1.
Things were much brighter during Saturday's 5-2 win due to Hudson's aforementioned actions. He held things down with the Dodgers (resulting in only one earned run) until Arizona's offense came alive in the fifth inning. Stephen Drew's triple landed him on third base, only to be brought to the plate by Tony Abreu's sacrifice fly.
Things got especially stunning in the sixth when Cole Gillespie came through with a three-run homer to make things 4-1. Adam LaRoche had doubled and Brandon Allen was intentionally walked before the 26-year-old outfielder walloped a 382-foot jack into the left field seats. (LaRoche also had a sac fly in the seventh to score Kelly Johnson and add another run).
Both the score and the game were much tighter during Sunday's rubber match as both teams found themselves in a back-and-forth contest. Arizona's Joe Saunders dueled with opposing pitcher Chad Billingsley kept the score knotted at 0-0 until the fifth when El Lay drew first blood. James Loney broke the tie by doubling to deep center and bringing in Ryan Theriot and Matt Kemp.
The Diamondbacks struck back in the bottom half of the inning when Gillespie's sac fly enabled Miguel Montero to dash home, only to see the Dodgers extend their lead when Rod Barajas (another former hometown hero) plunked a two-run jack over the left field wall thanks to Sam Demel's execrable pitching.
Sounds like the makings of yet another Diamondbacks defeat thanks to bullshit from the bullpen? Not this time, pardner. Both Abreu and Chris Young stepped up to save both the day and the series by each knocking titanic two-run homers in the eighth inning. Abreu's went 396 feet and brought in Drew, while C-Young's 393-foot moonshot took Kelly Johnson to the dish. Final score, 5-4 in Arizona's favor.
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It enabled the Boys in Sedona Red to end their final home stint of 2010 on a hugely positive note before they hit the road for their last two series of the season. They're headed to the Bay Area for three games this week against San Francisco (88-68) and have a perfect chance to sully the Giants' postseason hopes just like they did to the Colorado Rockies this past week.
The Jints are a half-game ahead of the San Diego Padres for the National League West crown, and only one game in front of the Atlanta Braves (who are hoping to nab the Wild Card spot since the Philadelphia Phillies have already locked up their division). Arizona can most definitely play the spoiler roll this week by taking two of three from San Francisco and allowing either the Padres or Braves to overtaking them in the standings.
The Snakes will send Rodrigo Lopez (7-14, 5.04 ERA) out to battle Jonathan Sanchez (11-9, 3.16) on Tuesday, with Ian Kennedy (9-9, 3.76) matching up with Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.06) on Wednesday. Barry Enright (6-6, 3.73) faces off with Tim Lincecum (15-10, 3.51) during the finale on Wednesday. First pitch during tomorrow's game is at 7:15 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. For more information, go to www.diamondbacks.com.