Diamondbacks Offensively Historic

One of the great things about baseball is that you never know exactly what is going to happen when you go to a game. As you are standing in line at the turnstiles to enter the stadium you could be about to witness history.

Sometimes that history can happen at the most inopportune times and include the most unlikely cast of characters. When the gates opened at Chase Field before the final game of a three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, very few if any could have predicted how this one would play out.

The Pirates had tied the series after the second game when they defeated Diamondbacks ace Dan Haren roughing him up for six runs in 6.2 innings. The final game featured Diamondbacks newcomer Edwin Jackson in his second Diamondbacks start.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Diamondbacks would take the lead in the second inning only to see Jackson continue to struggle giving up three runs in the third to give the Pirates a 4-1 lead.

It looked as though this was going to be a short outing for Jackson and a long day for Diamondbacks fans. For the first time the team seemed destined to lose a series and leave for Los Angeles with a two-game losing streak.

In the stands the fans were beginning to murmur. They were already questioning whether the deal that sent Max Scherzer to the Detroit Tigers might have been a mistake after just one and a third starts.

All of that changed when the Diamondbacks came up to bat in the fourth inning. It started innocently enough with a walk to Adam LaRoche by Pirates starter Daniel McCutchen.

Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds hit a grounder to Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno. It should have been a double play but instead LaRoche was safe at second and Reynolds was safe at first. That play looks innocent when reading the box score but it set up what happened next.

Center fielder Chris Young who struggled most of the 2009 season got a 90 MPH fastball from McCutchen and drove it into the second row in left field to score three and tie the game 4-4.

Had the inning ended there, the Diamondbacks and their fans would have been happy that they clawed their way back into the game and gave themselves an opportunity to win. But as luck would have it, the inning was far from over.

The very next batter was second baseman Kelly Johnson who took a McCutchen 92 MPH fastball and put it deep into the right field stands for a back-to-back home run that gave the Diamondbacks a one-run lead.

Catcher Chris Snyder who was making his first start for the injured Miguel Montero flied out to center field to give the Pirates their first out of the inning. Diamondbacks starter Edwin Jackson who had not had a hit since 2007 was able to slap a single into the center.

Left fielder Conor Jackson followed with a single to right field moving Edwin Jackson to second in the progress. Shortstop Stephen Drew then hit a triple on a 3-0 count to center scoring both Jacksons all still with one out.

After allowing six runs and with Drew on third the Pirates made a pitching change bringing in Hayden Penn. With right fielder Justin Upton at bat Penn threw a wild pitch allowing Drew to score the seventh run of the inning. Upton would walk bringing LaRoche up for the second time this inning.

LaRoche hit a single to right field allowing Upton to move to third. Reynolds in his second at-bat of the inning walked to load the bases for Young. He would ground out to the first baseman allowing Upton to score and putting LaRoche on third and Reynolds on second.

Johnson would walk in his second at-bat of the inning to again load the bases. The Pirates would make another pitching change bringing in Jack Taschner. Taschner threw a fastball with his first pitch and Snyder laced it to center field for a base clearing double.

Pitcher Edwin Jackson came to the plate a second time this inning and hit his first career home run to left field scoring the Diamondbacks 12th and 13th runs of the inning. Conor Jackson was the 16th hitting in the inning and was called out on strikes in what was clearly ball four.

As the Pirates walked off the field the Chase Field fans stared in disbelief at the scoreboard where the home team had sent 16 men to the plate, hit three home runs, and drove in 13 runs. Most of these either tied or set franchise records.

The remainder of the game was sort of a blur as the teams went through the motions. Many of the regular players would be removed. With the game out of hand it was a chance for the bench players to get some experience and at bats.

It’s funny what a difference an inning makes. Over the first three innings Edwin Jackson looked to be headed for his second straight loss. He struggled mightily with his command. After that magical fourth inning where he went 2-2 including a single and a home run he settled down and pitched effectively the next four innings.

As the fans watched the final out recorded they celebrated not just a win but probably the best offensive inning of baseball the franchise will ever have. It was the perfect end to a historic day at Chase Field.



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