After losing two of three to the Kansas City Royals, the worst team in baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks slid back into third place, 3.5 games out of first. The series ended an embarrassing 2-4 home stand, and they traveled to Chicago to play the best team in baseball, the White Sox.
Now, after three games in Chicago, they are back in second place in the National League West, only 2 games out of first.
The Diamondbacks took the series after two games, winning 8-1 on Monday and 10-4 on Tuesday. Despite a 12-6 loss Wednesday, they gained 1.5 games on the first-place San Diego Padres, who did not play Monday and lost their first two games against the Tigers.
On Monday, Arizona pitcher Shawn Estes threw his first nine-inning complete game since 2003, striking out five while giving up eight hits, including a home run by Frank Thomas that accounted for Chicago's only run. Estes' strong start was backed up by a strong offense. The D'Backs hit four homers, which accounted for seven of their eight runs. Three of the homers came in the top of the second, including back-to-back shots by Luis Gonzalez and Troy Glaus.
On Tuesday, despite three homers to account for all four of their runs, the White Sox could not charm the snakes into losing. Javier Vazquez started for the D'Backs, giving up only three runs on eight hits while striking out ten in his eight innings. Glaus and Shawn Green again hit four-baggers, giving the two of them 25 homers combined.
Going into the bottom of the sixth on Wednesday with a 6-2 lead, the chances of the D'Backs sweeping the White Sox looked pretty good. But that all changed when Chicago sent out a reminder that they are the best in baseball by piling on ten runs, with Arizona starter Russ Ortiz being responsible for seven of them. Ortiz was tagged for nine runs overall in only 5.1 innings, skyrocketing his ERA to a dismal 5.88. With the win, Chicago starter Jon Garland became the first American League pitcher to win eleven games this season.
Arizona's final three interleague road games will come in the next series, against the Cleveland Indians. They finish the road trip with four games against the Giants in San Francisco and conclude interleague play with a three-game series at home against the Detroit Tigers. Then the Giants will come to town for three games to round out their next home stand.