The Diamondbacks are suddenly a loose and bonded ballclub, and there was no better indication than during a drill proctored by manager Kirk Gibson hours before Friday's game with Minnesota.
Gibson executed what he saw as a perfect drag bunt and "flew" down the first base line, signaling himself "safe" as he crossed the bag. But Gibson lost his balance with the move wound up doing a face-first pratfall on the foul line.
His players lost it. Some raced for the dugout to hide their laughter, while other players had no interest in discretion and hit the ground, rolling and doubled up in laughter. It didn't take long for the "man down" chalk outline with Gibson's No. 23 to show up at the scene of the crime, leading to more cackles.
The Diamondbacks weren't laughing a week ago, when they were trapped in a 1-6 death march along the West Coast, losing one-run games left and right and sliding down the division standings.
But since beating the Dodgers with the aid of just one hit in Los Angeles last Saturday, Arizona has won six of seven and four consecutive one-run games -- hanging on for a wild 8-7 win over the Twins on Friday despite the Diamondbacks bullpen allowing three runs in the ninth and leaving the bases loaded.
Arizona trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before exploding for five runs in the seventh inning and taking an 8-4 lead to the ninth. But when Joe Patterson got the final two outs and left three Twins on base, it was more good times for a team that has inched to within two games of .500 (21-23).
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