TempeTEMPE – WEST COAST Division Series  GAME 1 @ Tempe

(9-29-12) Evening in Tempe and all the excitement is centered on baseball and the playoffs. The Division series starts, the Tempers march to the World Series finally begins as the Wild Card round has finished and the home team finally gets to play. And Tempe is ready, putting their ace Matt Cain on the mound. Their opponent, the West Coast Swing, is fresh off the upset victory over Camarillo in the MWBL’s first Wild Card Series – and their players are showing fatigue, energy, but it’s mostly adrenaline, which only lasts so long. Making the start for West Coast will be Gavin Floyd whose 16 wins in the regular season is not quite half the 33 Cain amassed.  Here we go ….

The home team fans were rudely silenced somewhat in the first when Shane Victorino beat out dribbler down the third base line for a two out infield hit. Then Michael Cuddyer stepped up to the plate (fresh off a 3 HR performance in the 3 game WC series). Victorino promptly stole 2b and Cuddyer then single him home making it 1-0 West Coast. Zimmerman follows with shallow fly to center that Granderson couldn’t get to and then it bounds away from him. Cuddyer digs for home and beats the throw with Zimmerman ending up at 3rd. Now 2-0 West Coast.  West Coast fans must be getting excited, but there are still 9 innings of Tempe bats to face.  Well, the rest the first three innings went scoreless.

The third inning however saw each team scoring a run each. Cuddyer led off the top of the 4th with a base hit and he steals 2nd. Zimmerman follows with a single to RF but Cuddyer holds at 3rd for runners at the corners.  Tempe’s change pitchers (actually this is the 2nd change in the game) and Greg Holland comes on. They were looking for the DP, and got Utley to ground to second, but were only able to get the batter at 1st, Cuddyer scoring – 3-0 West Coast.  Holland then got a K, gave up an IW and then fanned P Floyd to end the 4th.  In the bottom half after getting the first two batter, Troy Tulowitzski doubles.  Beltre (of the Nemesis Trio) follows Tulo’s double with one of his own making it 3-1. Floyd then got Pedroia to pop out ending the 4th.

In the 5th, the momentum took a swing toward the Tempers. Ruiz and PH Duda (batting for Holland) went down to a K and flyout, but with 2 outs things got exciting for the home team.   And it was the thing managers (and pitchers) really hate with 2 outs – the free pass that got things started, Granderson walking.  He steals 2nd. Manager Schindel lifts Floyd in favor of Chris PerezMelky Cabrera steps up and ground to Desmond at short – and the thing a manager (and pitcher) hates even more – he boots it and everyone is safe, runners on the corners.  Hunter Pence steps up and singles to RF, Granderson scoring, runners on 1st and 2nd. Then AGon (of the Nemesis Trio) walks to load the bases. Tulo then whacks one to RF scoring Cabrera and Pence and Tempe has taken the lead 4-3! The once load stadium that had been in stunned silence has erupted again. Beltre ends the rally when he fans.

Jim Johnson comes in to pitch the 6th for the Tempers and gets the first two batters before Desmond sneaks one up the middle into CF for a single. He then steals 2nd.  Johnson is quickly lifted for Takashi Saito (the 5th Temper pitcher in the game).  Yorvit Torrealba steps up and hits one to RF that drops in front of Pence and Desmond rounds third and he beats the throw standing up – tie game 4-4. Saito is lifted for Ryan Madson who gets the 3rd out.

In the bottom half Perez gets 2 outs before Molina singles.  He then tries to steal second, but is cut down to end the inning.  New pattern developing as Nunez opens the 7th with a single, but when Pierre misses the pitch, Nunez is cut down at second.  Pierre then walks but is out at 2b on FC with Victorino ending up at 1st. With Cuddyer at the plate, Victorino is then nailed at second trying to steal ending the inning.

Southpaw Glen Perkins comes in for West Coast in the 7th and he gets 2Ks and a flyout.

Top of the 8th, Cuddyer steps up to open the inning, remember he was in the batter’s box when Victorino was cut down stealing.   Well, he takes Madson’s pitch downtown, might have reached Phoenix for another playoff HR and a 5-4 West Coast lead.  In the bottom of the 8th, AGon, Tulo and the pitcher’s slot are scheduled to appear. Perkins remains on the hill for the Swing. AGon grounds to Trumbo and Tulo fans.  Manager Douglas calls on Vlad Guerrero to PH for Madson. He greets Perkins with a high, deep drive to right, going going, but caught by Cuddyer at the wall, 3 outs.

Tyler Clippard comes in for the 9th and gets 2Ks and a groundout bringing the game to a tense moment, Tempe coming to bat at home in the bottom of the 9th – but down only 1 run.  Manager Schindel is looking to the pen and he calls Kenly Jansen to try to come in and hold the Tempers (are there blood pressure monitors in place?).

Pedroia steps in – and whiffs. Ruiz steps up and flys out to CF. Molina to the plate with 2 outs and Jansen fires it in and Molina couldn’t stop the bat and he strikes out – thus bringing the game to an end with West Coast winning 5-4! Holy Cow!

WCS  5 10  2
TEM  4   6  0
WP Perkins (1-0) S Jansen (1)
LP Madson (0-1)
HR – WCS Cuddyer (1)

WEDNESDAY 07/31/2024
AT 11:59 PM - ET!