There's good news about the Diamondbacks vs. Major League Baseball's best team, the Phillies -- Arizona's 3-3 this season against Philadelphia.
The other good news is that while the Diamondbacks were losing 4-1 to the Phillies before and after a more-than-two-hour rain delay in the City of Brotherly Love last night, the San Francisco Giants were losing 1-0 against the formidable Atlanta Braves in Dixie.
Which means Arizona didn't lose anymore ground in the National League West race, remaining in first place at 2 1/2 games ahead of the Giants. The Diamondbacks were 3 1/2 games in front of San Francisco until they lost 9-2 to Philadelphia night before last -- after their come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Philly Phanatic's favorite squad Tuesday night. (The madcap mascot, pictured, goofed on D-Backs broadcasters Daron Sutton and Mark Grace last night as his team goofed on our hometown no-shows.)
It looked good at the outset of the game when sluggers Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino weren't in the lineup for P-Town: Howard was said by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to be resting up after sustaining a sore hand. Victorino was serving a two-game suspension for his part in a bench-clearing brawl against San Francisco on August 5.
But things went bad for the Snakes early, when Philadelphia scored three runs in the second and third innings. Right fielder John Mayberry Jr. accounted for the latter two when he blasted an Ian Kennedy pitch off the left-field foul pole after shortstop Jimmy Rollins had singled.
A little more than an inning later came the rain delay. As another haboob enveloped metro Phoenix, Philadelphia got pounded with rain. The delay didn't help Arizona much. The Phillies scored another run when the game picked up in the fifth, and that's the way it stayed until rookie D-Backs' first baseman Paul Goldschmidt blasted an eighth-inning homer deep into the center-field shrubbery of Citizens Bank Park.
It was the fourth time the 23-year-old has gone yard since he was brought up from the Mobile Bay Bears 15 games ago (he blasted his third the day before in the losing effort against Phillies ace Cliff Lee). And he was one of two bright spots for the D-Backs in the Philadelphia series -- the other being recently acquired alternate first baseman Lyle Ovebay, whose offense in Tuesday's game led to the improbable win over Philadelphia's other ace, two-time Cy Young Award-winner Roy Halladay.
Snakes manager Kirk Gibson summed it up in his post-game news conference last night: "We got 11 hits in three games...six runs in three games. Goldy and Overbay were the offense."
Gibson added, "[The Phillies] out-performed us -- they beat us."
Kennedy went into the game with 15 wins, but he looked hampered after what seemed to be a minor second-inning collison with third baseman Ryan Roberts on a routine pop-up out.
With the win, Philadelphia is by far the best team in the majors at 80-42. The D-Backs are 69-55.
To show you how good the Phillies are this year, Atlanta is in second place in the National League East with a 73-52 record. That's 8 1/2 games behind the Phillies, though the Braves have won four more games than the first-place-in-the-West D-Backs.
So there's no rest for the weary (last night's game ended just before midnight in the East): the D-Backs meet the Braves in Atlanta starting at 4:35 p.m. (our time) today. Starting pitcher for Arizona will be Daniel Hudson (12-8, 3.76 ERA); for Atlanta, Derek Lowe (4-7, 6.30 ERA over 12 starts) will take the mound. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. For more information, go to www.diamondbacks.com.
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