So, where to begin? Well, as long as we keep winning the weird games, I guess I’m okay with it, but this one blew the earlier one out of the water for strangeness. The D-Backs started Dontrelle Willis, who is clearly suffering from various ailments mental and physical. Willis walked six and threw 95 pitches in only four innings, but allowed just three hits, and actually shut the Braves out for the first three before they got two in the fourth on a sac fly by Infante and a single by Ross. That tied the game after the D-Backs got two runs in the third, one on a double and the other on a passed-ball/strikeout. Like I said, weird.
The Braves beat up on Dontrelle’s relief in the fifth, scoring five runs with two out. Ross hit a ground-rule double to score Chipper, then Hanson helped his own cause — unfortuately, not enough — with a two-run single. Prado hit an infield single, then Heyward drove in Melky to make it 6-2. The D-Backs had no choice at this point but to turn to Blaine Boyer, who walked Zombie Chipper to make it 7-2, then finally got out of it.
Hanson got through the fifth, but was throwing a lot of pitches, more because of deep counts than anything the D-Backs were actively doing. He got one in the sixth but allowed two to reach and was pulled after throwin 121 pitches. He struck out ten and walked only two. The real problem is that the bullpen is suddenly shaky with Moylan overused and Saito out. Bobby hasn’t really settled on anybody between the starters and Wagner. Today’s game didn’t help any.
The Lisp came in and got out of Hanson’s jam, and Bobby decided to go with him for another inning, even letting him hit. It didn’t really work, as Martinez allowed a homer and followed with another run allowed to cut the score to 7-4. Venters, who’s been really strong to this point, came in to pitch the eighth and it didn’t go too well.
He got LaRoche — everybody’s getting poor Adam lately, he needs to adjust his meds — but walked Reynolds. Then he almost lost the game, with an assist from the middle infielders. He got a chopper to the mound for an easy double play — but nobody was at second. Venters double-clutched, then threw the ball behind Prado. Yunel probably should have been covering on the play, but was nowhere to be seen; Venters should have thrown to first to get the sure out. He then got a strikeout, but walked the next man to load the bases for KJ, who doubled past first to tie the game. Bobby finally had to go to Moylan, whom he absolutely did not want to use; Peter got a weak flyout that Melky just got to to end it.
The D-Backs went to their closer, Qualls, but Qualls sucks. Conrad pinch-hit for Ross and after falling behind worked the count to 2-2 and singled. Melky couldn’t get a bunt down and struck out, but Conrad stole second anyway. McCann pinch-hit and drove him in with a single, going to second on the throw. Prado singled to make it first-and-third, and then Heyward hit a pop fly down the left field line that three different D-Backs couldn’t field, making it 9-7. Hinske singled in Prado, and Heyward scored on a sac fly to make it 11-7.
But because nothing is ever easy, Wagner nearly blew the Atlanta Save. He got the first hitter to ground out, then allowed a single, and suddenly lost his control completely, walking the next two men, the second on a pitch to the backstop. Then he struck out the last two to end the interminable game. How often does a nine-inning regular season game go almost four hours?