As the 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks have quickly learned, you need to have a short memory in the Postseason and especially in the World Series. They definitely had a short memory tonight and got back to their winning formula in rather convincing fashion. This was a complete team win backed by an impressive start from Merrill Kelly and timely hitting all over the lineup. I caught this game from Turambar’s house with Lopez (EdBiggHead) and NikT. Picture a Meme Monday and Bruteside Chat in person, and that’s what our hangout was.
It was Kelly who set the tone for team being completely dominant for seven innings giving up only one run on three hits while striking out nine Texas Rangers. He struck out two batters in each the first and third innings. His opponent on the mound, Jordan Montgomery, has had tremendous success in the Postseason prior to his start tonight having been unbeaten. Montgomery was not as reliant on the strikeout tonight as Kelly was, but regardless was still able to match Kelly through three innings to keep the game scoreless.
Arizona broke the seal in the fourth inning courtesy of Gabriel Moreno. He worked an impressive eight pitch at bat before depositing a 3-2 sinker down the middle of the plate into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen:
The Diamondbacks weren’t done there as Tommy Pham logged his second of four hits in the game with a two out double down the right field line. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. then followed with this single to left field giving Arizona a two run lead:
Put another run on the board. pic.twitter.com/N9PBdGnu9b— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 29, 2023
Kelly gave up his first hit of the game in the bottom half of the fourth, a two out single from Evan Carter. Merrill did have a few fly outs go to the warning track tonight, but the loudest barrel against him came in the fifth on a leadoff solo blast from Mitch Garver cutting Arizona’s lead in half. Kelly unrattled and with his pitch count still in the fifties kept his focus and got out of the inning without any further damage beyond a single. Christian Walker for all his woes at the plate in the NLCS and so far in the World Series made this tremendous play for the first out in the fifth:
C-Walk is a Gold Glover for a reason. pic.twitter.com/1tWCvCsqFj— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 29, 2023
The Diamondbacks’ offense really started to take over in the sixth inning and beyond, but a baserunning mistake prevented them from scoring four innings in a row. Pham had his third hit and second double of the game with two outs in the sixth. Texas elected to intentionally walk Gurriel to face Alek Thomas, but as quickly as that rally got started it ended with Pham leading too far off the bag at second and was picked off by Montgomery. As fate would have it, the next time Arizona came up to bat Thomas doubled off the wall in center field which would have scored both Pham and Gurriel. It mattered not because Evan Longoria singled him home pushing Arizona’s lead 3-to-1. Two batters later after another successful sac bunt from Geraldo Perdomo, Corbin Carroll singled Longoria home making the score 4-to-1.
Merrill’s final inning came in the seventh and he emptied the tank, or probably not given how dominant he was, striking out Adolis Garcia and Jonah Heim for his eighth and ninth strikeouts. Texas had already gone to their bullpen one inning earlier with already their third reliever coming in for the eighth in former division rival Chris Stratton. Stratton surrendered Pham’s fourth an final hit, a lead off single to center field. Stratton retired the next two batters which prompted a little gamesmanship from Torey Lovullo.
Lovullo had initially sent Pavin Smith out to pinch hit for Longoria which made Bruce Bochy go to his bullpen for left hander Martin Perez. Lovullo decided to burn a bench bat an recalled Pavin in favor of Emmanuel Rivera needing a anew third baseman in the field anyways. Perez struggled to find the strike zone issuing consecutive walks to Rivera and Perdomo. That brought Ketel Marte to the plate who was hitless on the evening and looking to extend his consecutive hit streak in the Postseason and he did so with a single up the middle giving Arizona a five run lead. Ketel now owns the longest Postseason hit streak in history at eighteen games. Corbin Carroll singled on the very next pitch making the score 7-to-1.
Doubling our lead on back-to-back swings. pic.twitter.com/zqE82Mp4g1— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 29, 2023
That late inning offensive burst allowed Lovullo to change his bullpen usage and rest Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel, and Paul Sewald who all saw action last night and heavy usage in the NLCS. Saalfrank pitched a clean eighth inning recording ground outs against each of the three batters he faced. Arizona added a pair of runs in the ninth on a trio of singles from Walker, Gurriel, and Rivera for a 9-to-1 lead. Saalfrank and Luis Frias combined to navigate the bottom of the ninth and even the World Series 1-1. This was the first time in franchise history that the Arizona Diamondbacks won a World Series game on the road.
Amen to that. I’ve spent the majority of my life admiring Mad Max Scherzer in the Postseason. Now I have the opportunity to watch the Diamondbacks face off against him with a blossoming Brandon Pfaadt in opposition. Should be a great Game 3.