One had the sense this was going to be a very different game from last night. As the crowd filtered in the ratio of Red Sox fans to Dbacks fans seemed much less favorable than the previous game. And from the very first at bat the Red Sox fans were making themselves known with chants and cheers.
While both pitchers posted 3 up 3 down innings in the first, Mookie Betts put a 8 pitch at bat against Weaver that seemed to set a tone that the Red Sox were here to battle tonight. Indeed it took 18 pitches to get back in the dugout. Conversely, David Price needed just 8 pitches to retire the side in his half.
The 2ndinning began with Weaver issuing a leadoff walk to Xander Bogaerts, followed by a Rafael Devers single just past the outstretched glove of Wilmer Flores. With runners at the corners and nobody out, the Red Sox fans asserted their vocal dominance, making it feel like a road game for the DBacks players I’m sure.
It looked like Weaver might get out of it without too much damage after an Eduardo Nunez rbi ground out and a flyout to deep center by Jackie Bradley Jr that advanced Devers to 3rd. An intentional walk to catcher Christian Vasquez put runners at the corners again, but with pitcher David Price coming up, who was 3 for 48 in his career, .063 BA.
Incredibly Price jumped on the first pitch and hit a sharp shot past Christian Walker to drive in Devers from 3rd, and then Andrew Benintendi cracked a ground rule double to left CF. Just like that it was 3 – 0 Red Sox. It seemed this was not going to be Weaver’s night. He did manage to retire Betts on a groundout to Nick Ahmed who had to make a long throw from deep in the hole to get the speedy AL MVP. In all it was a 25 pitch inning and you just knew there was more where that came from.
The DBacks jumped right back in the game however in the bottom of the 2nd. David Peralta leadoff with a single, and one out later Eduardo Escobar doubled. With runners on 2ndand 3rd, #Nickthestick Ahmed worked an 8 pitch at bat before finally singling to CF to score Peralta. Carson Kelly followed with a gapper to LCF, scoring Escobar and Ahmed all the way from first to tie it up. With 2 outs Adam Jones hit another double, scoring Kelly, but the play at 2ndwas close and as Jones came up from the pop up slide, his foot left the bag ever so slightly. That was enough to overturn the safe call on review, ending the inning, but not before the Dbacks took a 4-3 lead.
Weaver responded with a shutdown inning in the 3rdthanks to 3 straight ground balls to Gold Glover Ahmed. In the 4thhe worked around a leadoff single to retire the bottom of the order from there and head to the 5thwith his pitch count at 74 to face the Red Sox order for the 3rdtime.
Price did the same, working around a one out walk to Flores by getting David Peralta to ground into a 4-6-3 DP in the bottom of the 3rd, and stranding a 1 out single by Eduardo Escobar in the 4th. The notable at bat that inning was a Carson Kelly strikeout after being up 3-0 in the count and failing to turn the lineup over.
A sharp leadoff single up the box by Benintendi was erased when Betts hit into a 6-4-3 DP , and Steve Pearce K’d looking in a 10 pitch 5thfor Weaver. That was all for Luke this game as he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 5th.
Weaver was relieved by Yoan Lopez who threw a scoreless 6th , his 14thstraight scoreless outing, dating back to last year. David Price for his part completed scoreless innings in the 5thand 6thas well.
Yoshi Hirano came on in the top of the 7thand quickly got into trouble, walking Jackie Bradley Jr and then giving up a 1 out single to pinch hitter J.D. Martinez to put runners on the corners. That was all for Yoshi as Torey Lovullo popped out of the dugout to bring in the lefty Andrew Chafin to face the lefty Benintendi. An 8 pitch at bat ended with a walk and a cascade of boos. Lovullo immediately pulled Chafin and brought in Archie Bradley to face Mookie Betts with the bases loaded. This was a big moment, and for the most part, Archie answered the call. Betts lifted a sac fly to right for the tying run. But a pitch around walk to Mitch Moreland and groundout by Xander Bogaerts ended the threat with the score tied 4 all. It could have been much worse
The DBacks went down meekly in the bottom of the 7th, and Archie came back out to work the 8thwith his pitch count already at 14 and promptly walked the leadoff batter Rafael Devers. Joey Cora opted to play some “national league ball” and had Nunez sac bunt him over to 2nd. I’m sure Archie was very thankful for the gift out, as he got his namesake Bradley to strike out swinging, and then a deep fly to track in left off the bat of Vazquez landed safely in David Peralta’s glove to end the inning. All in all this was a very good outing for Bradley and should help rebuild some confidence for everyone.
Ketel Marte singled with one out in the bottom of the 8th, but was stranded, setting up Greg Holland to come in to pitch the 9thin a tie ballgame. After a deep fly out to right by JD Martinez, Tzu-Wei Lin grounded out to short and betts struck out on a beautiful slider away. A very efficient 9 pitch inning it was.
With seemingly all of the 35,969 announced attendance still in the ballpark, Alex Avila came on to pinch hit to start the bottom of the 9th. After working into a full count he struck out on a slow curveball from Colten Brewer however. No heroics for Slo-Mo tonight. No matter….a base hit to right by Eduardo Escobar, his 3rd of the game, followed by a passed ball with #Nickthestick at the plate put the winning run on 2nd . Nick came through with a sharp single to right too. However 3rdbase coach Tony Perezchica sent Escobar to a certain out at home as right fielder Betts gunned him down by 15 feet. Key heads up play by Ahmed’s though advancing to 2nd on the throw giving the Dbacks another shot to get the winning run home. Carson Kelly stepped up to the plate, and this time there was happiness in DBack land as he laced a 1-1- fastball into left field for the game winning hit and the loudest cheers of the night went to DBacks fans as Ahmed came around to score It was Kelly’s first walkoff hit of his career.
WALK-OFF TACOS!!!! CARSON KELLY!!!! pic.twitter.com/On6uo9u1nP— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) April 7, 2019
On a side note, Torey mentioned in the post game press conference that his plan all along was for roughly a 4-3-3 split of the playing time behind the plate for his 3 catchers. He said that may change a little depending on circumstances, but that’s the plan for now.
WPA Hero. Carson Kelly. +.50
Honorable mention: Archie Bradley +.19, Eduardo Escobar +.16
Needing some improvement: Yoshihisa Hirano. -.13
586 comments on the night. Might have expected a few hundred more. But for those diligent folk who were there tonight,
AZDovs11, AZPerson, Augdogs, AzDbackfanInDc, AzRattler, DBacksEurope, DeadManG, Dewberry, Diamondhacks, Fangdango, FishOnEmm, GuruB, Hannibal4467, Jack Sommers, Johnneu, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, MikeDavisAZ, MikeMono, MrMrrbi, Sprankton, The so-called Beautiful, Theolser4, asteroid, edbigghead, kilnborn, onedotfive, ponus, redsedona, smartplays
One Red comment tonight, and we’ll go with that in response to the always odd way Red Sox fans manage to break out an out of context “Yankees Suck” Chant
Sunday’s game starts at 1:10 P.M. Merrill Kelly and the DBacks go for the sweep. Red Sox start is still TBD, likely to be some sort of Bullpen game for the Red