D-backs Short Hops: Game 1
Two solo homers break up pitching duel in NLDS opener
PHOENIX -- This marquee pitching matchup between Arizona's Brandon Webb and Arizona's Carlos Zambrano did not disappoint, as two of the premier pitchers in the game took turns making the opposing lineup look bad in Arizona's 3-1 victory in Game 1.In < 25 words ...
Webb (one run, nine strikeouts) and Zambrano (one run, eight strikeouts) dominated the game early. Arizona's Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds had solo homers. Frozen moment
The sold-out crowd of 48,864 at Chase Field seemed split Wednesday -- half Cubs fans, half Diamondbacks fans. But when Reynolds launched a tie-breaking solo home run in the seventh inning off Cubs relief pitcher Carlos Marmol for a 2-1 advantage, the crowd sounded far more pro-D-backs than anything. Big number
16 -- The number of strikeouts between Webb and Zambrano through the first six innings of Wednesday's game. Game balls
Webb very much looked like the same pitcher Wednesday who reeled off 42 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this season, as he had his curveball, changeup and, of course, a nasty sinker going. Webb struck out the side in the third inning after a leadoff double and was seldom in trouble if not for three walks. He pitched like, really, a Cy Young winner.
Much-maligned for his hitting -- or, lack thereof in the regular season (.232), Drew got the Diamondbacks on the scoreboard with a solo home run to right-center field to start the fourth inning off Zambrano, who was plenty stingy Wednesday. Drew also made a diving stop and strong throw to first base to end the fourth inning with a runner on. He later had a single in the sixth inning.
Like Drew, another fresh-faced Diamondback playing in his first playoff game, though it didn't show. He hit a solo home run that snapped a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning and then made a brilliant running scoop-and-throw to end the eighth inning on a slow roller hit by Mark DeRosa.
Sense of October
There was certainly a buzz -- no, make that a roar -- that washed over Chase Field in the third inning when Zambrano -- yes, he can hit, too -- doubled into the gap in left-center to start the inning. But Webb buckled down thereafter, striking out the next three hitters he faced, including catching Derrek Lee looking at a nasty curveball to end the inning.
4 AB, 2 H, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R
Comment: Drew gave Webb a run early with his first postseason home run. He later added an opposite-field single off Zambrano.
7 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 9 K's
Comment: Webb tied the Cubs in knots with a variety of nasty pitches, including but not limited to, his nasty sinker.
"The tell-tale sign for me was down the stretch, jockeying back and forth with San Diego and Colorado, and watching how they react, to be able to keep that perspective, to come out indifferent to what happened the night before or regardless of what might happen tomorrow, it was impressive. They responded today the way they responded all year." -- Arizona veteran Tony Clark on the team's youngsters, like Drew and Reynolds, who each hit home runs in the Diamondbacks' 3-1 victory over the Cubs. Next step
Two solo home runs by two of the Diamondbacks kiddie corps -- Drew and Reynolds -- proved to be enough Wednesday as Arizona took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. It will be left-hander Doug Davis, who has seven career victories over the Cubs, who takes the mound in Game 2 on Thursday.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.