The Cinderella season of the Arizona Diamondbacks has sadly come to an end. The clock has finally struck midnight as the Milwaukee Brewers won 3-2 in 10 innings during the deciding Game Five of the NLDS this afternoon.
Hope swelled in the top of the third when Justin Upton homered over the center field wall to give the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. Arizona ace Ian Kennedy was on point in the early going, striking out four batters. It all started to come apart in the fourth, however, when he loaded the bases (through a combinations of beanballs, wild pitches, and a walk) and Milwaukee's Jerry Hairston sac-fly brought in a run. Skipper Kirk Gibson finally pulled Kennedy in the seventh.
While D-Backs fans may have been breathing a sigh of relief when Kennedy got out of the inning with no further damage, it got worse in the sixth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI single brought in Ryan Braun to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
Sounds like the setup for another come-from-behind victory for the Cardiac D-Backs, right? After all, this was the team that led the league in comeback wins this season. They definitely gave it their all and tied things in the ninth when Gerrardo Parra finally came through with a hit in the series. He nailed a double to deep right, Sean Burroughs singled, and Willie Bloomquist's squeeze play bunt allowed Parra to dash across home plate.
It flummoxed Brewers' closer John Axford, who hadn't blown a save since April and almost lost the entire game for Milwaukee when he permitted Upton's base hit that moved Bloomquist over to third. Unfortunately, the D-Backs couldn't get their runners across home plate (much like they'd done the entire game) and couldn't land any further home runs. There wasn't to be any further clutch home runs by either Ryan Roberts or Paul Goldschmidt to win the game this time.
The endgame came in the bottom of the tenth when Diamondbacks reliever J.J. Putz (who had been remarkable this season until now) gave up a single to Carlos Gomez, who proceeded to steal second and eventually came in for the winning run from a walkoff single by Nyjer Morgan.
And so ends the Diamondback's dream season. Thanks for a great year, y'all. It was probably one of your most memorable in Diamondbacks history (save for the World Series run from a decade ago). Big hits, grand slams, come-from-behind wins, and unlikely heroes.
No one ever could predict that this season would turn out like it did. In spring training, no one thought Arizona would amount to anything except cellar dwellers. The Diamondbacks proved to be anything but, as they defied the odds and came inches from making it to the National League Championship Series. It's too bad that few in the national media ever gave the team its due.
How will the D-Backs fare next year? It depends on whether or not breakout stars like Roberts, Goldschmidt, and Cowgill prove to be more than just flashes in the pan. Will Stephen Drew come back strong from his injury and will the pitching staff keep its edge?
We'll find out in four months.
Oh, and Milwaukee? Good luck. It's going to be fun watching your smug slugger Prince Fielder getting dismantled by the far more talented Philadelphia Phillies (or whoever wins the AL pennant). Despite your "Beast Mode," you can't win on the road, which is one of the keys of any champion.
So when does the Suns seasons start? Oh yeah, that's right. Shit.
See y'all in the spring.