For a team that had their backs against the wall after getting trounced in Philadelphia, the D-backs surely looked like it facing Ranger Suarez Thursday afternoon at Chase Field. For a team that’s struggled to hit but got timely home runs to carry the offense, it was more of the same for the offense for most of the game.
Ketel Marte did most of the damage for the Diamondbacks, doubling twice in the 3rd and 6th innings to start the offense, but the team largely failed to capitalize on the opportunities when given. The first two-out double was squandered there, as Carroll grounded out to leave him stranded. The second double led off the 6th inning, and a Carroll grounder almost made it through the infield to score their first run, but Stott made a fabulous diving stop and Suarez beat Corbin to the bag for the first out. But Jeff Hoffman came on in relief and struck out Moreno badly on 4 pitches, and Walker grounded out to short to end the limited threats they’d have.
Fortunately for the offense, Brandon Pfaadt was electric and pitched like a rotation ace. Mixing all of his pitches well and never making any real mistakes, Pfaadt stymied the explosive Phillies offense all game. His only real mistake was a Brandon Marsh double to right that Pham either misjudged or struggled to go after with the weakened foot. But no matter, Pfaadt would lean on the strikeout to end the inning.
Through 5 innings, Pfaadt was just about perfect with 8 K’s and only 1 batter above the minimum. He cruised through Brandon Marsh with a strikeout, and Johan Rojas flew out to center for the first two outs of the inning. But out came Torey Lovullo with the quick hook. Unlike his outing against the Dodgers when he was in trouble after giving up a double, Pfaadt was dealing, retiring the last 10 batters he’d face and only needing 70 pitches to get to that point. But, the call was made, and Saalfrank came on to face Kyle Schwarber.
He’d walk on 5 pitches.
Turner up next, and it looked like disaster was incoming with a first-pitch ball but a hard ground out to Rivera got them out of the jam and erased the “early-hook” questions Torey would face if a run would’ve scored (He’ll probably still hear those).
The run dam finally broke in the 7th, albeit not in the conventional means. With Saalfrank still on to face Harper, he’d walk to lead off the inning and Ryan Thompson came on to try and induce a double play. Bohm hit a perfect weak grounder up the 3rd baseline for a single but got the much-needed grounder from Stott for a double play. But his command left him as he yanked a slider into the left-hander batter’s box, allowing Harper to score and breaking the zero-zero tie.
The D-backs finally responded. Pham woke up from his long struggle with a single to right-center and after Alek Thomas replaced him as a pinch-runner, Gurriel doubled to left and Thomas was on his horse to score all the way from 1st to tie things at 1-1.
But with a chance to be a hero, Emmanuel Rivera failed, grounding into a double play with some questionable baserunning from Gurriel to clinch the double play. He had an opportunity to force the throw to home if he went on contact, but stayed close to 3rd, allowing Turner to flip to 2nd for the double play. Perdomo grounded out to Alvarado to end the threat.
Ginkel worked a clean 8th and a two-out double from Moreno gave another shot at a run, but an intentional walk to Walker brought up Alek Thomas, who’d ground out.
Sewald came on for the 9th and was his normal self, pitching around an unintentional-intentional walk to Harper, but Alec Bohm watched strike three to end the inning.
With Craig Kimbrel on for the 9th, the offense came alive. Lourdes Gurriel took a close walk to lead off the inning then stole 2nd on the slow to the plate Kimbrel. With the defense aligned to cover the 1st-2nd hole, Pavin hit it in the perfect spot, getting runners on 1st and 3rd with zero outs. But Rivera came up empty again, grounding out to Turner with Gurriel went on contact and was gunned out easily on the play. Again, another baserunning blunder had Pavin stuck on 2nd with one out. Perdomo and his excellent eye worked a walk to load the bases for our hero Ketel Marte.
We’ve got a series now guys, gals, and pals. Is the 9th inning a sign of things to come? Or will the bullpen game be too much of a hill to climb for the D-backs to overcome? First pitch is at a much normal time, 5:07pm first pitch.