The Arizona Diamondbacks spent their Memorial Day holiday defeating the Texas Rangers in back-to-back games of a day-night doubleheader at Chase Field on Monday.
It was the second-ever twin bill in team history at the stadium and the consecutive victories raised Arizona's record to 30-22 and gave them sole possession of first place in the National League West. They've also won six of their last 10 games and are currently on a three-game win streak.
The Diamondbacks had to call up Tyler Skaggs from triple-A Reno for the first game of Monday's doubleheader, as prospective pitcher Ian Kennedy cut his finger, um...perilously washing dishes last week. Skaggs and his 'stache, pitched six innings of shutout baseball, while throwing a career-high nine strikeouts against the potent Rangers' offense.
Skaggs had some trouble early in the game, but was able to strand a runner on third in the first two innings.
The D-backs' offense quickly gave the young a lefty some run support. In the first inning, Martín Prado lined a ball to right field to score Paul Goldschmidt. The single was Prado's seventh hit in as many at-bats, which tied a franchise record.
Cody Ross lined a two-run jack over the left-field fence for his second homerun of the season and gave the Diamondbacks a 3-0 lead. Arizona tacked on two more runs throughout the game and Will Harris and David Hernandez pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
The Rangers, however, brewed up some trouble in the ninth against Tony Sipp. The Arizona reliever loaded up the bases before D-backs manager Kirk Gibson inserted Heath Bell. The closer made things interesting when he allowed all three runners to score, but, in the end, Bell came away with his ninth save of the season and the Diamondbacks won 5-3.
While the Rangers were unable to pull of a rally in the afternoon contest, Arizona pulled off some late-game magic to come back from a two-run deficit in the second game of the doubleheader.
With the D-backs trailing 4-2 in the eighth inning of the nightcap, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer off of Rangers ace Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.03 ERA) to tie things up. After Darvish left the game, Cliff Pennington gave the Diamondbacks a 5-4 win with a walk-off single up the first baseline that scored Miguel Montero.
Besides Pennington's game-winning single, Gregorius provided most of the offense for the D-Backs and also hit an RBI triple in the first inning. Other than Gregorius' swats, Darvish proved virtually unhittable to Arizona. The Rangers starting pitcher threw 7.2 innings and tied his career high for most strikeouts in a game with 14 for the third time this year.
While sinker-baller Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.88) struck out four Rangers, he gave up four runs, only three earned, in eight innings of work. Matt Reynolds and Brad Zeigler pitched a scoreless ninth inning, which set up Pennington's heroics.
The Diamondbacks have today off and will travel to the Lone Star State to face the Rangers in Arlington on Wednesday. Arizona will send out Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 4.36), who has given up only one run in his last 24 innings pitched, against the Rangers' Justin Grimm (4-3, 4.05).
First pitch is at 5:05 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.