The Diamondbacks blew a six-run first inning -- and won? Strange but true. Well, not really so strange considering that the back end of the D-Backs' rotation is pretty weak and the bullpen isn't much better. Thank goodness, this year's team knows how to hit, as the offense carried the day Wednesday to a 12-11 win in 10 innings.
After staking starter Kris Benson to a comfortable lead with a six-run outburst in the top of the first inning in Colorado, Benson (he of the 5.14 earned-run average and sore shoulder) and long reliever Leo Rosales (8.10 ERA) let the slugging Rockies right back into this one. At the end of the fourth inning, it was, improbably, 11-6 in favor of the Rockies.
Chris Young, who appears to have put his recent 0-for-18 skid in the rear-view mirror went 2-for-4 with a homer and five runs batted in. Despite that impressive line, he wasn't even the hero of the day for the D-Backs. That honor goes, again, to the team's new second baseman, Kelly Johnson.
Johnson, cast off by the Braves after a terrible 2009 and picked up as a cheap free agent ($2.35 million) by the D-Backs, hit the game-winning home run in the top of the 10th off the Rockies' Franklin Morales. In 106 games last year, Johnson had eight homers and 29 RBI. In 20 games for the D-Backs in 2010, the 28-year-old has eight homers and 15 RBI. He may the best bargain in the majors right now.
After Johnson's homer, reliever Juan Gutierrez pitched a hitless bottom of the 10th to pick up his first save of the year and give the D-Backs the series over the Rockies.
On Thursday, the D-Backs will open a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Cubs just dropped two of three to the Washington Nationals at home and appear in the early-going to be an aging punchless ballclub, in stark contrast to the young and energetic D-Backs. The Cubs made news last week when they sent their onetime ace and highest-paid player, Carlos Zambrano, to the bullpen. Thursday's game will feature the new Cubs ace, Ted Lilly, against the D-Backs' Ian Kennedy, who gave up four earned runs against the Phillies but made it through eight innings his last time out. First pitch is 11:20 a.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona and WGN. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.dbacks.com.