Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks

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November 4, 2001: That Bloopin’ Hit
One of the most memorable games in World Series history capped the Diamondbacks’ one and only championship in just their third year of existence, the fastest any expansion team has ever won it all. And it came not with a bang, but with a weakly poked bloop by Luis Gonzalez which nestled in behind second base and a drawn-in New York Yankee infield to score the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Both starters—Curt Schilling for Arizona, Roger Clemens for the Yankees—dueled through the seventh inning, with Clemens lifted after 6.1 innings, allowing just a run and striking out 10. Schilling held even with Clemens until he served up a solo homer to Alfonso Soriano in the eighth, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Randy Johnson, having thrown seven innings just the night before, came on in relief to record the final out of the eighth and threw a scoreless ninth to keep the Diamondbacks to within a run, but the comeback challenge was daunting as Mariano Rivera, with his impeccable postseason resume, came on in the bottom of the eighth with the goal of shutting down the D-Backs for the final six outs. He only got four of them.
Mark Grace led off the bottom of the ninth with a single; Rivera fielded a bunt from the next batter, Damian Miller, but his throw to force out the lead runner at second went wild into center field. Two batters later, Tony Womack doubled to bring home the tying run, Craig Counsell was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out—forcing the infield to play in—and Gonzalez finished the historic comeback with one of baseball’s most famous bloop hits to ice the series in the desert before 50,000 delirious fans.

May 18, 2004: The Perfect Unit
In the midst of, easily, the Diamondbacks worst season (51-111), came one of their greatest moments. Randy Johnson, now 40 years of age, took the mound in Atlanta against the Braves before 23,000 fans and was locked in from start to finish, retiring all 27 Atlanta hitters he faced—13 of them by strikeout—to become the oldest player in major league history to throw a perfect game. Johnson was rarely challenged; the closest the Braves came to a hit occurred in the sixth inning when the Atlanta pitcher, Mike Hampton, was retired by a half step at first base on a slow grounder to shortstop Alex Cintron. By the ninth inning, Johnson was firing away as if it was the first; his 117th and final pitch of the night was a 98-MPH fastball that struck out Eddie Perez.

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