June 1, 2012
CL Game 53
Diamondbacks (Cocco's Pizza) 12
Mariners (Cavanagh Family Funeral Homes) 6
D'backs invoked the five-run rule twice en route to doubling up the Mariners,
For the victors: Nicholas Corritore (four RBI, two runs scored), Lizzy Gibian (three RBI, two runs scored), Milan Hortua (three runs scored) and Jake McDowell (two runs scored) each went 3 for 3; Luke Mersch (three RBI, run scored) and Joey Cornacchia (two runs scored) both went 2 for 3; Blayke Reid smashed a two-run triple; and Dylan LeBuhn went 2 for 2 as the top eight hitters for the Diamondbacks combined to go 19 for 23 with 12 runs scored and 12 RBI.
Corritore, Mersch, Hortua, Cornacchia, Gibian and Alex Turmel stood out in the field for the D'backs.
For the Mariners: Colin Curran (two runs scored) and Ethan Smith (three RBI, run scored) each went 3 for 3; Jerry Wilson (run scored, RBI), Shane Hall (run scored, RBI), Manny Baker-Castro (RBI), Jeremy Cohen (run scored) and Caden Paukstis all went 2 for 3; and Colin Bramley (run scored) added a single for an offense that racked up 17 hits and put the ball in play 19 times.
In the top of the first, the Mariners jumped out to a two-run lead. After Bramley and Curran hit back-to-back singles, Cohen moved them over with a grounder to the right side. Although Cornacchia gobbled up the ball at first and notched an unassisted putout, the visitors had two runners in scoring position with just one out. Wilson promptly knocked in Bramley with a base hit, and, after the next batter was retired, Smith stroked a two-out single to plate Curran. The D'backs got out of the inning without giving up any more runs, but the Mariners took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the first.
Undaunted by their early deficit, the Diamondbacks came out on fire at the plate. With the D'backs' usual leadoff hitter, Kelton Brunner, unavailable, the speedy Hortua took over the top spot in the lineup and opened the home half of the first with a single. After Cornacchia crushed a base hit into left field, McDowell loaded the bases with a chopper to the right side. That set the stage for Corritore, who launched a single into left, through the air, to score Hortua and Cornacchia and tie the game at 2-2. Then, Gibian continued her torrid hitting streak (see NOTES below story) by drilling a shot into center to plate McDowell and give the Diamondbacks a lead they would never relinquish. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Mersch blasted a scorcher up the middle. Mersch hit the ball so hard into center that, in addition to Corritore scoring from second, Gibian came all the way around from first to end the inning due to the five-run rule.
After the Mariners went in order in the top of the second, LeBuhn hit a one-out single in the bottom of the frame, but the D'backs' lead stayed at 5-2 heading into the third.
With two outs in the top of the third, Curran and Cohen picked up consecutive singles despite outstanding efforts by the Diamondbacks' defense. On Curran's hit, Gibian made a deft stop at third and delivered a strong throw across the diamond. Then, on Cohen's single, Hortua, playing pitcher, darted in front of the mound, scooped up the ball and fired a strike to Corritore at first. Although the Mariners had runners on first and second, the D'backs escaped unscathed.
The Diamondbacks strung together five straight hits to score two runs in the bottom of the third. With one out, after Hortua legged out a single, Cornacchia roped a liner over the third-base bag to put runners on first and second. Then, McDowell smoked a hard-hit ball to the left side. On the play, the Mariners' shortstop made a nice stab to set up a potential force-out at third, but Hortua hustled to the bag to load the bases with one out. Corritore followed with a sharply hit single of his own to the left side to score Hortua, and, then, Gibian plated Cornacchia with a base hit. After the next two batters were retired, the D'backs carried a 7-2 advantage into the fourth.
In the top of the fourth, the Mariners threatened to cut into the Diamondbacks' lead when Hall and Smith hit consecutive singles to start the frame. Smith's hit was especially well struck, but Mersch quickly corralled the ball in left-center and hurled it back into the infield to hold him to a single and keep Hall from advancing past second. After the next two batters were retired, Corritore came up with the play of the game. With runners on first and second and two outs, Noah Griffin lofted a high pop along the third-base line that looked like it might fall for a hit, but Corritore calmly stepped up from his position at the hot corner, settled under the ball, watched it into his mitt and secured it to end the half-inning.
In the home half of the fourth, after LeBuhn pelted a single to the left side, Sam Davenport moved him over to second with a grounder to the right side of the mound. If not for a fantastic play by the Mariners' pitcher in which he fielded the ball and sprinted over to tag Davenport before he got to the bag, the D'backs would have had runners at first and second with nobody out. After that stellar defensive effort, the next two batters were retired as well to end the inning and keep the Mariners within five runs heading into the fifth.
Baker-Castro opened the fifth with a single, but the Diamondbacks got out of the half-inning without giving up a run. On Baker-Castro's hit, Mersch, playing pitcher, vacuumed up the ball by the mound and quickly gunned it over to Cornacchia at first, but the fleet-footed Mariner beat the throw.
Needing just one run to lock up their second victory of the season, the D'backs ripped off five runs on six hits in the bottom of the fifth. Hortua hammered a single into left to start things off, and, after the next batter was retired, McDowell slammed a hit into center to put runners on first and third with one out. Then, Corritore lifted a pop-up that fell in front of the mound on the third-base side, and Hurtua raced home with the clinching run. Gibian followed with a single into right that scored McDowell and moved Corritore to third, and, then, Mersch knocked in Corritore with a base hit of his own. That set the stage for Reid, who clobbered a three-bagger to plate Gibian and Mersch. If not for the five-run rule, Reid - who struck the ball with such force that it rolled well past the Mariners' outfielders in center - likely would have had a three-run homer. When all was said and done, the Diamondbacks had inflated their cushion to 12-2 heading into the final frame.
Refusing to go away quietly, the Mariners exploded for four runs on seven hits in the top of the sixth. After Curran, Cohen and Wilson hit back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with nobody out, Hall sent a hard-hit ball to the left side. Although Cornacchia made a strong play at short to keep the ball in the infield, Curran easily crossed the plate and the sacks remained full. Then, Smith singled into right field to plate Cohen and Wilson, and Paukstis followed with a hit of his own to load the bases once again. After the next two batters were retired, Baker-Castro singled home Hall with the game's final run.
NOTES: Gibian heads into the postseason having gone 13 for 16 (.813) over her last six games, 16 for 21 (.762) over her last eight games, and 17 for 23 (.739) over her last nine games. After starting the season 1 for 7, Gibian has raised her average from .143 to a lofty .600 (18 for 30), second on the D'backs only to the white-hot Corritore, who's hitting a blistering .784 (29 for 37) with three doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored. Corritore, who enters the playoffs having gone 12 for 13 (.923) with a pair of doubles, nine RBI and five runs scored over his last five games, has amassed a .973 slugging percentage. ... In his first time playing pitcher, Turmel did a nice job for the Diamondbacks in the sixth inning. ... The D'backs put the ball in play 20 times. ... As was the case during their previous victory, the skies were ominous throughout the game and the Diamondbacks wrapped up their win in the rain.