Game of the Week: 6/1-6/7

I’m not sure if major league teams are purposely playing great games on Sunday or if it is nothing more than a coincidence, but our top game from this past week once again took place on the final day before the work week begins. For those that happened to miss it, the Padres and Diamondbacks engaged in an 18-inning affair yesterday that featured several unlikely events. The Diamondbacks would ultimately win by a score of 9-6, but how they got there is much more interesting. Observe the swings in win expectancy:
Dan Haren started for the DBacks, opposed by replacement level extraordinaire Josh Geer. Both pitchers started off strong, keeping the opposition scoreless for four frames. In the fifth, Geer walked Mark Reynolds and surrendered a double to Miguel Montero, placing two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Chris Young walked to load the bases, but didn’t stay put for very long, as Josh Whitesell quickly plated all three runners with a bases clearing double. Haren sacrificed Whitesell to third, and Felipe Lopez brought him in with a sacrifice fly. This would be the last inning for Geer, who left trailing 4-0.

With Haren on the mound, the game seemed to be in the bag. When the DBacks added two more runs in the sixth off of Joe Thatcher, increasing their lead to 6-0, against an offense like the Padres, the game seemed completely out of reach. In the bottom of the seventh, Kevin Kouzmanoff smacked a solo homer off of Haren, the only run the ace would allow. He departed after the frame, turning in another stellar start. Tony Pena pitched a scoreless eighth, meaning the Padres had but a 1.6% chance of winning the game as the bottom of the ninth rolled around.

Juan Gutierrez toed the rubber for the Diamondbacks and promptly gave up a double to Adrian Gonzalez. Chase Headley singled Gonzo in one batter later. 6-2, still no big deal. Brian Giles then walked (shocker) and Headley advanced to third on the subsequent Kouzmanoff flyout. One out, down four runs, runners on first and third, with Chad Qualls now in the game and the likes of Nick Hundley, Chris Burke, David Eckstein, and Tony Gwynn, Jr., due up.

Hundley singled in Headley, making the score 6-3 with just one out. Chris Burke grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Hundley being forced out at second. First and third, down three runs, with two outs and a solid closer on the mound, and perhaps the weakest power hitter in baseball at the plate. And Eckstein launches a three-run homer to tie the game! Eckstein! That homer was totally the byproduct of clutchiness and grittiness.

If only that was where the unusual events stopped. No, following the home run to tie the game, the Diamondbacks and Padres would play the equivalent of an entire game without scoring. In fact, the Diamondbacks relievers threw a no-hitter in this second game. Literally, a no-hitter. Jon Rauch, Esmerling Vasquez, Clay Zavada, and Leo Rosales combined for nine no-hit innings from the 10th-18th. The DBacks would pull ahead in the top of the 18th on a Mark Reynolds three-run blast, but an extremely unlikely comeback from an anemic offense fueled by one of the least powerful hitters ever, and followed by a no-hitter is certainly a solid recipe for game of the week honors.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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Not to mention the homer in the 18th was with the backup shortstop pitching. A.J. Hinch said he could’ve gone 22 innings before using a position player. Wild game…