In the aftermath of the embarrassing (and chilling) Kendrys Morales celebration injury a year ago, a few teams around the league decided to lower the volume of their on-field celebrations, the Angels most notable among them. A few other teams paid the injury little mind and moved on without changing anything. And the Arizona Diamondbacks? I don't know how the Diamondbacks responded last season, but this season they're clinically insane.
Look. When a guy comes up with a walk-off single or double, it's common for him to get mobbed by his teammates in the infield. It's also common for him to playfully run away from his teammates and their aggressively enthusiastic pats on the back and the helmet. But what you're about to see is less common. What you're about to see is assault.
That's Arizona's Justin Upton in there, fetal at the bottom of the pile, getting the crap beaten out of him. All because he delivered a walk-off bloop single to beat the Marlins. You'd think he made his teammates mad. You'd think he made his teammates madder than they've ever been.
For whatever it's worth, it took the game a while to get to that point. Daniel Hudson was going up against Javier Vazquez, which seemed to give the Diamondbacks a distinct advantage, but it was Hudson who cracked first, allowing three runs in the second and one in the third. Mike Stanton drove in three runs with a homer and a triple, and Vazquez helped himself with an RBI single.
Armed with a four-run lead, Vazquez was cruising until he hit the sixth. There, Ryan Roberts got the home team on the board with a two-run homer, and Upton later drove in a third with a groundout.
But Vazquez still had the lead going into the seventh, and he handed the ball over to the bullpen with a man on second and nobody out. The bullpen created a jam and then nearly got out of it, with Edward Mujica inducing a bases-loaded double play ball off the bat of Xavier Nady, but third baseman Greg Dobbs couldn't glove a high bounce, and everybody was safe, with Arizona having tied the game.
No further damage was done in the frame, but the Diamondbacks pushed another run across the plate in the eighth, when Chris Young blasted a Mujica pitch into left-center for an RBI double. Arizona went up 5-4, thrilled to have a lead to hand over to shutdown closer J.J. Putz.
However, it didn't take long for Putz to blow his first save of the season. The first batter he saw in the ninth was John Buck, and John Buck did one of the things John Buck is capable of doing, launching a solo home run to even the score a five apiece.
That set the stage for the bottom of the ninth. Willie Bloomquist led off with an infield single, and later sprinted all the way from first to third on a groundout by Roberts. The Diamondbacks had two out and men on the corners when Upton stood in against Burke Badenhop and lifted a high bloop into shallow right field, behind first base. The fielders closed in but nobody could make the catch, and Bloomquist scored to win the game. Upton ran away from his charging teammates at first, but before long they tracked him down and carried out the savage scene above.
With the win, the Diamondbacks maintained their slim lead in the NL West. The loss left the Marlins two games behind the Phillies in the East. Arizona now prepares for a series against Washington, while Florida readies to host Milwaukee.