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Diamondbacks beat Giants, clinch National League West

Sep 24, 2011, 12:43 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Getty Images

I hope you’re enjoying clinch night, everyone.

The Diamondbacks were already assured of at least a tie for the division crown entering tonight’s action, but they just clinched the National League West with a 3-1 win over the Giants. This is the fifth division title in their 14-year history and their first since 2007.

The Diamondbacks were down 1-0 through six innings against Matt Cain, but Chris Young tied the game with an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh and rookie first baseman Paul Goldschmidt put them in front with a two-run triple off Sergio Romo into the right field corner in the eighth. J.J. Putz worked around a leadoff single by Mark DeRosa for his 44th save.

Coming off a last-place 65-97 finish, the Diamondbacks are without question the most surprising team in baseball this season. Kirk Gibson should be a lock for manager of the year, but Kevin Towers’ overhaul of the backend of the bullpen can’t be overlooked. Including tonight’s win, the Diamondbacks are 82-0 when leading after eight innings. And I don’t need to remind you how awful that bullpen was last season.

All three divisions in the National League are now decided, but the Wild Card and homefield advantage between the Diamondbacks and Brewers are still up for grabs.

  1. cur68 - Sep 24, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    At the start of the season, after he’d been to Spring Training, Craig had said that this was a team to watch. He said something about how Gibson had them all motivated and playing with a purpose. Craig’s looking pretty sharp, eh?

  2. alexpoterack - Sep 24, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    Craig also picked the Cubs to win the Central, so…

    • cur68 - Sep 24, 2011 at 2:05 AM

      Meh. Somebody had to. It’s tradition. He took one for the team.

  3. jhorton83 - Sep 24, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    And J.J. Putz was easily one of the best if not the best signing this past offseason. Somehow it was forgotten that he was an elite closer just a few years ago before an injury-plagued season with the Mets and a season of being underutilized by Ozzie Guillen in a setup role behind Fat Bastard Jenks.

  4. sonoco - Sep 24, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    I hope the Dbacks send a thank you card and playoff share to Scott Cousins. Congratulations Arizona, but it won’t be this easy for you in 2012.

  5. yournuts - Sep 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    I don’t think that the DBacks won the division because the Giants lost Buster Posey! Everybody has their share of injuries and the better teams find a way to get over them. Buster Posey is a nice player but I can think of 4 or 5 other catchers that I would rather have on my team. Brian McCann, Russell Martin, Miguel Montaro, Yadier Molina, Carlos Ruiz, and Matt Weiters, just to name a few that I would rather have based upon their numbers and play. Remember that Buster has only been around 1 year and these other catchers have more experience and a better track record. Who knows, maybe in 4 or 5 years Buster might be the premier catcher in MLB, but right now he only has his rookie year that we can look at.

    I give a lot of Credit to the DBacks. They have a better team than the Giants. The starting pitching may not be as good #1 thru 5 but the DBack #1 starter Ian Kennedy was much better than any of the Giants starters this year. Ian Kennedy had 16 games this season in which he started that he gave up one or less runs per game. The Bull pens were very similar but the DBack saved 42 of 42 games while the Giants bullpen kept giving up leads and games. I think that Brian Wilson blew 5 saves this year. Sergio Romo was by far the better set up man. As far as scoring runs there is no comparison, the DBacks are a much better hitting team, a more compete team.

    • sonoco - Sep 24, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      Buster Posey’s defense alone was probably good for a half dozen games. Teams ran on the Giants at will after he went down. Then you add the offense lost by his absence and I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe things would have turned out different. I’m not saying the D-Backs weren’t the better team this year and I’m not saying that last years best NL rookie is already the best catcher in baseball. Just offering a penetrating glimpse into the obvious that the Giants weren’t nearly at full strength.

      But like you said, injuries happen to every team. The Giants just happened to lose their #2 and #4 hitters for most of the season, plus Sandoval for about 40 games. Without their production the Giants put up ridiculously poor offensive stats, for instance in 16 of Lincecum’s 32 starts the Giants scored 1 or fewer runs. Boo hoo.

      They’ll be ready to go next year. Posey will be back behind the dish and Freddy Sanchez will be back at 2nd base. Hopefully they keep Keppinger around through arbitration. They need to re-sign Javier Lopez, solidify CF and SS and they’ll be ready for another run in 2012.

  6. hcf95688 - Sep 24, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Look at the bright side, giants fans. Hell is due to freeze over again, fifty years from now.

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