Too bad the drive and emotion captured Friday has not been detected most of this season.
In drawing the National League West Division-leading San Francisco Giants as their opponents, the Diamondbacks demonstrated essential elements of their game that have been missing. Sure, injuries have compromised the effectiveness of the pitching staff but the Diamondbacks showed enough will against one of their top opponents to support manager Kirk Gibson’s theory that the drive is still alive.
Down early by one run, the Diamondbacks chipped away, rode the emotion of the crowd and subsequently came away with a 4-1 victory over the Giants before 29,295 Friday night in Chase Field.
Not that the figure is of any consequence this deep into the season, the Arizona victory cut the Giants lead to 13 over the Diamondbacks. This was only the D-backs’ second victory over San Francisco in five games this season in Chase Field. If there is any consolation, the loss was the sixth straight for the Giants and San Francisco has now dropped nine of their last 10 games.
With the Dodgers loss to San Diego Friday night, the Giants lead over L. A. in National League West remains at four games.
If there was a slight wave of emotion in the ball park, the crowd was quick to sense on the Giants as the opponent and the Diamondbacks’ ability to forge a come-from-behind victory.
“The crowd was really into it and that was nice to see,” said second baseman Aaron Hill, who chipped in with a 2-for-2 night, a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. “We gave them something to cheer about and every win is important. We played solid baseball and able to manufacture runs. All around, it was a good win.”
Still, the Diamondbacks displayed the kind of timely hitting and reliable pitching which characterizes fundamental baseball. They were able to manufacture runs and play “small ball,” a style which many thought they would employ from the start of the season.
“We just came from a tough series against Milwaukee (lost three-of-four), but played well,” said Gibson. “Things went well (Friday). We got timely hits, able to get guys over when we had to do that, and the bullpen was able to close it out.”
Throughout, the Diamondbacks able to do “the little things” which usually documents wins by good teams.
In the fourth, Paul Goldschmidt walked, stole second and came in on a single from Hill. After another run in the fourth and one in the fifth, the D-backs again played “small ball.” This time, Goldschmidt led off the sixth with a double off the left-field fence, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Hill’s sacrifice fly to left.
That three run lead was held effectively by the bullpen of Oliver Perez, Evan Marshall, Brad Ziegler and Addison Reed.
Reed put an exclamation mark on this game when he struck out the sides in the ninth inning.
Over the final six innings, the Giants managed only two hits and four base runners. These were a two-out double from Ehire Adrianza in the fourth and a one out single from Hector Sanchez in the sixth. Sanchez was quickly wiped on a double-play ball from Adrianza. The other two came on two walks from Arizona starter Josh Collmenter in the fifth.
Collmenter appeared to reach his limit after a 109-pitch night and only five innings of work. Walking four, Collmenter appeared to struggle with his command and threw 31 pitches in the first inning alone. Still, he went the required five innings and improved to 5-4 for his 13 starts to date.
“I’ve never had a clean, crisp game against them,” Collmenter said afterward. “(Friday night), they had long at-bats and I got behind. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as efficient as I should have been and didn’t want us to go the bullpen that early. I was glad I was able to stay in and give us a chance to win.”
ON THE DOTTED LINE
On Friday, the Diamondbacks announced they signed right-handed pitcher Touki Toussaint, their number one pick in the recent draft.
With the 16th pick overall, the D-backs took the 17-year-old Toussaint from Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian Academy. In 2014, he went 8-2 with a 1.22 ERA in 63.1 innings and struck out 104 hitters.
The Diamondbacks will introduce Toussaint Saturday in a late afternoon press conference in Chase Field.