Let’s remember some Memorial Day games in Arizona sports history
There are no baseball, basketball or hockey games this Memorial Day.
So let’s remember some of the best Arizona sports games of years past. We poured over box scores and picked some of the more dramatic games that fell on the last Monday in the month of May.
Here are five that stand out.
May 28, 2001 – D-backs 2, Giants 1
This was a nailbiter the whole way.
Randy Johnson went seven scoreless innings, but so did his counterpart, Giants starter Mark Gardner. The bullpens held for two innings, and the D-backs finally took a 1-0 lead in the tenth inning off of Robb Nen. But when Bret Prinz blew the save for the D-backs in the bottom of the 1oth on a leadoff Felipe Crespo homer, the score was knotted again.
Giants reliever Tim Worrell pitched a scoreless 11th and remained in the game for the 12th, and Mark Grace led off that frame with a home run. That made it 2-1 D-backs.
Miguel Batista pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 12th to get the save.
May 30, 2005 – Suns 111, Spurs 106
With Joe Johnson missing two weeks of action in the playoffs due to a broken orbital bone suffered against the Dallas Mavericks, his second game back came with his Suns trailing the San Antonio Spurs 0-3 in the Western Conference Finals.
His big game helped Phoenix finally throw a counter-punch.
Johnson scored 26 points to lift Amare Stoudemire’s 31 and Steve Nash’s 17 points and 12 dimes in a road win. Stoudemire’s point total was the lowest of any of the four games of the series, but it was a late block, key rebounds and defense on Tim Duncan that helped Phoenix finally get over the hump.
Of course, it was too little, too late as the Spurs closed out the first iteration of the Seven Seconds or Less Suns in Game 5.
May 28, 2007 – D-backs 5, Phillies 4
The D-backs seemed like they were well on their way to victory when two runs in the first, a run in the fourth and two more in the ninth gave them a 5-1 lead.
But going into the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies made it interesting.
Doug Davis pitched eight innings of one-run ball, allowing seven hits. Jose Valverde took over the ninth and allowed a walk to Shane Victorino and a single to Chase Utley. All was well again as he struck out the next two batters, but Greg Dobbs hit a three-run bomb with two outs to make it 5-4.
Valverde remained in the game and allowed a single before the next batter reached on an error, and Valverde was yanked. Brandon Lyon came in and pitched a seven-pitch AB to former D-back Rod Barajas. Barajas flew out to end the game, Lyon got the save and Davis got the win… narrowly.
May 27, 2013 – D-backs doubleheader vs. Rangers
The first game of a D-backs home doubleheader comes with bittersweet memories.
A surprise call-up to the majors after starting pitcher Ian Kennedy cut his finger while washing dishes, starter Tyler Skaggs, who last July died due to a drug overdose, struck out a career-high nine batters in 6.0 innings as Arizona won 5-3. It was his seventh MLB appearance.
In the second game, with D-backs starter Trevor Cahill on the mound, Arizona overcame a 7.2-inning, 14-strikeout performance by Rangers starter Yu Darvish to walk it off. Rookie Didi Gregorius hit a two-run bomb off Darvish in the eighth frame to tie the game, 4-4, before Cliff Pennington hit a single off reliever Jason Frasor with two runners aboard to score catcher Miguel Montero in a 5-4 win.
May 26, 2014 – D-backs 7, Padres 5
A.J. Pollock recorded the first walk-off home run of his young career, and the D-backs walked off on the San Diego Padres for a 7-5 win.
Taking the plate with two outs and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez aboard, the outfielder rocketed the first pitch from Kevin Quackenbush to right-center field and finished 3-of-5 for the game.
Pitcher Brad Ziegler got the win for Arizona for pitching the final two frames after starter Brandon McCarthy had gone 6.2 innings but given up five earned runs.