Las Vegas—The Luchadores (63-53) became the first BARB team to build a lead in their divisional race to double figures today, by outslugging the host D-Backs in a huge confidence-booster of a win, scoring all eleven of their runs after the fifth inning to hand Brandon Webb and the D-Backs a rare loss at home.
Webb wasn’t actually saddled with the loss, leaving with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth nursing a 3-0 lead and 93 pitches thrown. But Derrick Turnbow (4-3, 6.57) served up Manny Ramirez’s 25th homer of the year, a go-ahead shot, and both Zack Greinke and Oscar Villareal were similarly miserable in relief, putting Aaron Heilman (9-3, 3.98) into the ‘W’ column despite a so-so outing as Gary Matthews Jr. and Michael Barrett both hit big flies as well.
It was the sixth straight win for Las Vegas, and lowered their magic number for clinching the division to just 29 games. At this rate, the Oakeyland Ballers would need to go 28-7 over the rest of the schedule in order to catch the Luchadores should they become a .500 team. Start printing those playoff tickets, in other words.
In other BARB action:
YUMA 5, OAKEYLAND 3
WP: Jake Peavy (10-6, 4.16)
LP: Tim Hudson (8-13, 4.65)
SV: Otsuka (21)
Ryan Braun’s 11th homer since being recalled from the minors was a fourth-inning grand slam following a key error by Orlando Cabrera, and an uneven (5 BB) Jake Peavy got enough offense to reach double figures in wins with the West-leading Firebirds.
FROSTBITE FALLS 4, DARWIN 0
WP: Bronson Arroyo (13-5, 4.23)
LP: Scott Kazmir (11-9, 4.16)
The Finches lost for the eighth time in their last ten games and fell into the East cellar after being tied or within one game of first for much of the season, the definite low point for the Unnatural Selections. The resurgent Squirrels (67-49), meanwhile, got eight shutout innings from Bronson Arroyo, a perfect ninth in a non-save situation for Joe Nathan, and homers from Beltran (#21) and Young (#4), good enough to move into control of second place in the East.
BROOKLYN 6, WORCESTER 5 (1st game of DH)
WP: Andy Pettite (6-6, 4.24)
LP: Eric Bedard (9-9, 3.49)
SV: Rodriguez (25)
BROOKLYN 10, WORCESTER 6 (2nd game of DH)
WP: Damaso Marte (4-3, 3.77)
LP: Danny Haren (13-7, 3.65)
The Moabs won their third straight by sweeping a double dip with Eastern rival Worcester, thanks in large part to Francisco Rodriguez, who pitched the ninth in both games to allow the Moabs to again escape fourth place. Derek Lee, starting to heat up, drove in six runs in the twin bill with a homer, two doubles and a pair of sac flies.
BLACK MESA 7, POTTSYLVANIA 3
WP: Ted Lilly (7-10, 4.11)
LP: Orlando Hernandez (0-4, 5.82)
The Anomalies scored six early runs off seemingly-ancient Orlando Hernandez, then coasted for the win courtesy of their deep bullpen, improving to 56-61. A good case could be made that Black Mesa, rather than Worcester, has the league’s best pitching. Not only do the Anomalies lead the league in ERA (3.61), but they also have the least number of hits allowed per nine innings (8.0)