Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
For the third consecutive day, the Arizona Diamondbacks were victorious. Late Friday night, they squeaked out a win over the Philadelphia Phillies by a final of 5-4.
Three wins in a row may not feel like a major achievement, but to these scuffling Diamondbacks, it’s as close to Eden as they’ve been.
The key to their success was the able-bodied pitching recording outs early and often. Josh Collmenter went six strong innings of scoreless baseball, not rendering a walk, only four hits and five strikeouts. While Phillies hitters were squaring the ball up well against Collmenter and his super slow curveball, he received a bit of luck in his defense behind him.
On the surface, it was another day, another error for the D-Backs. On Tony Gwynn Jr.’s hot smash in the top of the seventh inning, Cliff Pennington could not knock the ball down, having it ricochet off him. Yet, out in left field, Tony Campana had himself an incredible evening. Doing everything from cutting off the ball at the appropriate angles, to running a dead sprint to get to balls, Campana single-handedly saved a couple of runs on Friday night. They may not yet have proper statistics to quantify just how valuable Campana was.
With the bat, Aaron Hill was the star of the game. He got two pitches centered up incredibly well and deposited them into his left centerfield power alley. In the bottom of the fourth, he cranked a running fastball into the bleachers, putting the D-Backs up 2-0. The very next inning, he added insurance to the lead with a ground-run double that scored one run, and very well could have scored two had the ball not been interfered with.
Leading 4-0 in the top of the seventh, it was time for the bullpen to take over, and the pacemaker’s to begin jumping.
Handcuffed by an inept bullpen made up of ineffective starters and specialty relievers, Kirk Gibson has to do his best to manage a mish-mosh of a Major League bullpen. After Joe Thatcher gave up back-to-back hits, he tried Randall Delgado, who was hit even harder. Thankfully, the entire lead wasn’t given away in just that one frame, but the Phillies had cut the lead down to 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, A.J. Pollock connected with his second home run of the season, which provided to be vital come the top half of the ninth. Pollock may not be credited with a go-ahead home run, but that extra run was the difference in the contest.
Nailing down his sixth save of the season, Addison Reed refused to let the Phillies go quietly. Retiring the first two batters with no issues, Reed surrendered back-to-back hits, then an intentional walk, before eventually striking out John Mayberry Jr. to end the contest. Catching a bit of a break, Mayberry Jr. was only in the game because he pinch-ran for the cement block footed Ryan Howard in the top of the eighth. Regardless, the outcome played out favorably for Arizona.
Two veteran pitchers will match up come Saturday night as Bronson Arroyo looks to get back to his days of old after a horrific start to 2014. The Phillies send out Cliff Lee, who has been his usual dominant, pinpoint controlled self. Getting underway at 5:10 p.m., the D-Backs look to win their fourth game in a row.