Diamonds in the Desert: A Baseball Blog from Tucson

Add These to the Record Books!
May 9, 2012, 14:22
Filed under: Uncategorized

The surprising thing to me in the first two games Tucson has played against the New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins AAA affiliate) is how many home runs have flown out of the park there!  In the heavier air of the Gulf Coast area, I expected there would be fewer of those to report.  But, as it happens, homers have again played key roles in these two games in New Orleans! 

Tuesday, May 8:  Tucson 8; New Orleans 11 (16 Innings!!!).  I was so disappointed that I had a meeting last night (I’m the chair, so I couldn’t really ditch!) because I was sure I’d miss most of the game while working.  As it happened, I caught most of the second half of the game, including the extra innings that put a new “longest game in T-Pad history” on the books!  As I drove to my meeting, I caught the first inning of the game:  Everth Cabrera had scored (single, advance to 2B on sac bunt, advance to 3B on an error, RBI groundout to Yasmani Grandal) and then Matt Clark hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat!  Tucson up by three!  I went into my meeting reassured – our guys were rolling!  It was going to be a great night!  Not so great, however, when I returned to my car and found that the Zephyrs were up eight to three after five!  Doggone it!  But then the tide turned again (maybe they “needed” me last night!) – with one out, James “Dinger” Darnell whacked out a solo homer!  Nothing for the Zs in the bottom frame, an awesome manufactured run scoring Daniel Robertson in the top of the seventh, nothing for NO in the bottom of the seventh, and believe it or not, Darnell is back to lead off the eighth.  And he goes deep AGAIN!  Solo homer!  His seventh of the season – he continues to lead the team in that category!  So, it’s six to eight, still in favor of NO, but the gap is closing.  Top of the ninth, two out, two on and Yasmani to the plate.  Grandal was having a kind of luckless night, but he came up clutch when we needed it most:  his two RBI single tied the game at eight.  And Tucson headed into its first extra inning game of the season.  And the innings kept going and going and going…  Amazing, gutsy pitching by Tucson’s relievers Erik Hamren and Jason Ray – they pitched a total of five innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and one walk between them.  (Incidentally, Jason also had his first EVER at-bat in the 13th – laid down a sac bunt!  Good job, Jason!)  On the flip side, the T-Pads had a TON of opportunities as they had at least one player reach base in each of the extra innings except the 10th.  They ended up leaving eight men on base in those extra innings.  Stalemate…eight, eight.  Forever, it seemed.  Brian Tallet came in to pitch the 14th for Tucson – got ‘em one-two-three, took a turn batting (struck out), shut ‘em down again one-two-three in the 15th, and then the magic was over.  In the bottom of the 16th, the Zephyrs got a single, a successful sac bunt, a walk and then pesky Luke Montz hit a three run homer to win the game for New Orleans!   You could tell the game was getting PAST deep into bullpens and benches, because the Zephyrs sent INF Chase Lambin in to pitch the top of the 16th…he allowed a hit, but got out of it.  And Chase was the winning pitcher in the game!  I love it when position players do that!!  New Orleans wins after 5 hours and 17 minutes. 

Wednesday, May 9:  Tucson 9; New Orleans 1.  Only a few hours after completing their previous game, Tucson and New Orleans again met to face off in a day game (school kids’ field trip – great attendance!  7,446!  And it’s always neat to hear the chaos of voices in the background when the kids are the primary attendees at a game!).  Tucson started strong and never faltered in this game against our old friend, 2011 T-Pad, Wade LeBlanc.  Dinger Darnell brought in two runs on a double in the first inning – followed by a two-run homer off Matt Clark’s bat.  Those two have become a very potent combination!  New Orleans got their one run off our starter, Jorge Reyes, in the fourth – ironically, the RBI went to Wade!  Good-hitting pitcher, as we know, but didn’t have his best 2011 stuff out there today against his former team (although he did register seven strikeouts).  Tucson’s next cluster of runs came in the sixth inning.  The Pads manufactured a run off D-Rob’s incredible speed and daring, and then, with the bases loaded and two out, Alexi Amarista strode to the plate.  Speedy and with a 16-game hitting streak, we know he’s good, but we didn’t expect this:  he went deep for his first homer of the season, a GRAND SLAM for the Tucson Padres.  It’s only the second Slam in T-Pad franchise history:  Andy Parrino hit one at Kino Stadium in June 2011.  Wow, I’m glad Alexi is now on our team!  That was it for scoring; Reyes and Tucson win, nine to one!    Oh, and by the way…You Can’t Sweep Us!! 

Transactions and Injury Report.  Both San Diego rehabbers, Carlos Quentin and Tim Stauffer have been assigned to Lake Elsinore Storm to continue their recovery work.  San Diego optioned Blake Tekotte back to Tucson and called up our reliever, LHP Alex Hinshaw.  Blake should be rejoining the team while they’re in New Orleans.  It’ll be nice (for us) to have him back!  I look forward to good things out of Hinshaw in the Bigs!  Surprisingly, injured INF Vince Belnome hasn’t been placed on the DL yet.

Follow the T-Pads on Tejano Radio 1600 AM!   The T-Pads play two more night games at the New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins AAA affiliate), tomorrow and Friday.  The team will then travel to Oklahoma City to see the Red Hawks (Houston Astros AAA affiliate) Saturday through Tuesday, May 15th.  Start times will be at 5pm Tucson time (except for next Sunday’s game, which starts at noon).  Our Pads return home for Thirsty Thursday on May 17th:  they will be facing the Nashville Sounds (Milwaukee Brewers AAA affiliate) for a four-game series.  Mark your calendars now and plan to join us at the ballpark!

(Disclaimer – This posting has not been reviewed/approved by Pima County, the City of Tucson, the Tucson Padres, Tucson AAA Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, PCL, MiLB, MLB, National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Tucson Baseball LLC, or any other baseball official and represents the views and biases of the author alone)


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