Monday, June 9, 2014

Games of the Weekend (6/6/14 - 6/8/14)

The best game of Sunday's action was Red Sox 5, Tigers 3; the teams traded the lead with single runs until David Ortiz hit a go-ahead 3-run homer in the top of the ninth. It scores a WPL of 4.55, one of the top 80 games of the year.

Friday's best effort was A's 4, Orioles 3 (11). Both teams got a pair of solo homers, but once the game was turned over to the bullpens, Oakland took over; their relievers combined for five scoreless innings, giving the lineup time to take the lead in the eleventh on a pinch single by Stephen Vogt. The game's 4.83 WPL is one of the 60 highest scores of the year.

But neither game was the best of the three full days of baseball that just transpired. That honor goes to Saturday's best: Diamondbacks 4, Braves 3 (11).

Arizona's Wade Miley retired the Braves in order in the first. Atlanta's Ervin Santana allowed an infield hit to Didi Gregorious to start the inning, but retired the next three Diamondbacks without a run scoring. Evan Gattis singled in the second and was left on; Arizona opened the scoring in the bottom of the inning when Martin Prado and David Peralta singled, and Ender Inciarte hit into a force at second that turned into a run-scoring Dan Uggla throwing error as the Braves tried to complete the double play. Atlanta responded in the top of the third when Andrelton Simmons doubled and made it to third on a Gerardo Parra throwing error, then beat the throw home on Jason Heyward's grounder to third.

Gregorious reached again in the third, this time on Uggla's second error, but a trio of groundouts kept him from scoring. The game remained tied through the next two innings as well, despite a Gattis double and a Prado single in the fourth and Arizona loading the bases in the fifth on an Inciarte single and a pair of walks. Atlanta finally nosed ahead in the sixth when Justin Upton singled and Gattis doubled him home for a 2-1 lead; Peralta singled in the bottom of the inning, as did Simmons in the top of the seventh, but the score remained the same when both starters were relieved at the end of the seventh.

Oliver Perez and Brad Ziegler conspired on a scoreless top of the eighth, and Shae Simmons worked around a leadoff hit by Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the inning. Ziegler was perfect in the ninth, leaving the Braves with only a one-run lead to turn over to normally-ironclad closer Craig Kimbrel. Inciarte drew a one-out walk, stole second, and scored on a pinch double from Aaron Hill to tie the game; Hill would advance to third on a wild pitch before Kimbrel finished off a pair of strikeouts to send the game to extras.

Addison Reed relieved for the top of the tenth and quickly recorded two outs, but then allowed a go-ahead homer to Heyward. Arizona responded quickly in the bottom of the inning, as Miguel Montero took Anthony Varvaro deep to tie things once more. Randall Delgado worked around a leadoff walk in the eleventh; the bottom of the inning saw David Carpenter retire Inciarte, but Cody Ross then singled, Gregorious walked, and Parra singled in the winning run.

This is an excellent game - the ninth- and tenth-inning comebacks combine to put it just inside the top 20 for the year to date. The most notable in-game feature is the fact that it includes the four primary players involved in the trade between these two teams just over a year ago. Justin Upton and Chris Johnson combined to go 1 for 10 with four strikeouts and a run scored; Martin Prado went 3 for 5 and also scored a run, and Randall Delgado pitched a scoreless eleventh to secure the win.

It's still been a bad trade for Arizona overall so far, but for one day, at least, it paid off nicely.

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