The most pivotal moment in perhaps the Arizona Diamondbacks' hoped-for turnaround took place during the top half of the second inning during their Monday-night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in L.A.
Facing Hiroki Kuroda in his first start since Opening Day, Stephen Drew led off with a double that nearly cleared the right-center-field fence at Dodger Stadium. So far, so good, right? Wrong, because moments later, Drew fell asleep and got picked off in a non-steal situation.
Here we go again.
But what D-Backs' fans thought would happen in this potentially game-deflating moment didn't. Instead of folding, Arizona battled. Mark Reynolds and Miguel Montero drew back-to-back walks. Then, after Chris Young chased a slider out of the zone for a strikeout, Josh Whitesell smacked a two-run double against a spent Kuroda, who threw close to 50 pitches in the first two frames, and staked the 'Backs to a 2-0 lead.
From there, Billy Buckner (1-1) took control. The right-hander baffled the L.A. hitters for six scoreless innings, allowing only four hits while striking out five and walking two.
Of course, the D-Backs' relief staff created some more high drama. In the ninth, Tony Pena, playing the closer role for a sore-armed Chad Qualls, was called upon to protect a 3-0 Arizona lead. Instead, dude nearly blew it by yielding run-scoring knocks to Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre. With two outs and the tying run on third, it looked as if Mark Loretta's tomahawk connection was good enough for a game-winning, walk-off home run. However, Gerardo Parra tracked down the high fly in deep-ish left field, preserving Pena's first save of the season and the victory for the D-Backs.
Overall, the Dodgers -- the team with the best record in the bigs -- were sloppy. The bullpen uncorked five wild pitches and the general mood of the team seemed a bit on the lackadaisical side. Maybe it was because the club didn't return from its Sunday-night match-up against the Chicago Cubs until 3 a.m. Monday.
Whatever the reason, the Diamondbacks will take a win against their division rival. They'll hope for another tonight at 7:10 when Dan Haren (4-4, 2.54 ERA) faces off against Randy Wolf (3-1, 2.84 ERA). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. See www.dbacks.com.
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