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Snake Pit Sim Season: 5/15 - Straling Marte Returns

Arizona’s offense benefited from the return of their center fielder.

With Tim Locastro’s hamstring not healing as quickly as expected, the decision was made to put him on the 10-day IL. Starling Marte was activated just before the game, after only a few rehab games in Reno.

The Diamondbacks received another solid, if unspectacular outing from Madison Bumgarner. Despite the Nationals regularly making things happen, Bumgarner’s veteran savvy allowed him to be mostly successful in keeping the Nationals from running up big numbers. The first inning epitomizes this and was somewhat of a preview of things to come. Michael A. Taylor led the game off by bunting for a hit. He was safe without a throw on the play. Victor Robles then came to the plate. Taylor took off for second on the pitch. He had the base stolen on Bumgarner before Robles put a solid swing on the ball and lined the ball directly to Christian Walker at first base. Walker then reached over with his tow and tagged first for the unassisted double play.

In the second inning, Asdrubal Cabrera coasted safely into second base after Kole Calhoun botched the catch on a line drive directly at him. Cabrera then came around to score on a double to right by Pablo Sandoval that hit off the wall.

Over the next five innings, Bumgarner allowed only six hits. All of the hits were of the loud and hard variety. Sequencing was MadBum’s friend though, limiting the damage to a measly two more runs allowed, both of them off the bat of Juan Soto, who had two tape-measure solo shots against the Arizona lefty.

On the offensive side of things, the Diamondbacks had trouble getting things going against the Nationals’ Joe Ross. The one exception to this came in the second inning. Walker started things off with a double into the right center gap. He then advanced to third on a passed ball. With Walker on third and no one out, Josh Rojas sent Taylor to the wall in right to make the out, allowing Walker to easily tag up.

It wasn’t until the seventh inning, that the Diamondbacks were able to finally put a bit of a hurt on Ross. The third-time-through penalty bit the Nationals’ starter in abrupt fashion.Rojas started things off by stroking a double to right. Carson Kelly came back from being down 0-2 to work an eight pitch walk. Calhoun’s struggles at the plate continued when he struck out swinging, bringing up Ketel Marte. Marte took the first pitch he saw and put it in the left field corner for a double. A hustling Kelly scored from first on the play. This brought Stephen Vogt into the game as a pinch-hitter. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Ross uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Marte to take third base. Three more pitches later, Ross finally induced a groundball back to the mound out of Vogt. Virtual Dave Martinez chose then to hand the ball off to his bullpen. Daniel Hudson came in and faced Starling Marte. Marte put a full swing on a pitch which resulted in a little squibber to short. Marte. Ketel Marte came home on the play while Starling Marte, buting down the line, turned the play into an infield hit. David Peralta followed by flying out to end the inning.

With a one-run lead, the Diamondbacks turned to Kevin Ginkel to bridge the gap to the ninth inning. A double, a single, and a walk loaded the bases with no one out. Virtual Lovullo came back out and called on Andrew Chafin to restore a bit of order. Two outs later, those runners were still waiting to move. That’s when Starlin Castro hit a little bleeder into center. That bleeder scored two. Chafin then retired the next batter, but the damage was already done.

The ninth inning was time for a turnabout. Up one, the Nationals turned to Will Harris to close things out. Carson Kelly greeted him by singling on a groundball into left. Two outs later, Jake Lamb, pinch-hitting for Archie Bradley, doubled to right center. With two outs, Kelly was running hard on the play and managed to score easily, which tied the game. Having seen enough, Virtual Martinez turned to Wander Suero to strand Lamb at second. Starling Marte had other ideas though. He took Suero back up the box, lining a single into center. Lamb hustled around to score, giving the Diamondbacks another walk-off victory.

Final Score: WAS 5 - AZ 6

The player of the game honors went to Juan Soto for the power display he put on against Bumgarner. A case also could have been made for Starling Marte getting the award. In his first game back, the center fielder was 3-for-5, one of which was the walk-off single that secured the win for the Snakes.

The Diamondbacks are finally off again tomorrow. Their next game will be in New York where they will finish their season series with the Mets. Today’s win by the Diamondbacks, coupled with a Giants’ loss has the Diamondbacks in sole possession of second place in the NL West.