D-backs hold down Phillies, earn walk-off win in Game 3
Posted on: 20 Oct, 2023 at 01:42 AM
Credit: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
PHOENIX -- Torey Lovullo admitted he would have booed himself when he walked out of the dugout to take his starting pitcher, Brandon Pfaadt, out of a postseason game in the sixth inning to the sound of boos from the home crowd.
The move didn't backfire on the Arizona Diamondbacks manager, although Pfaadt was cruising along with no runs allowed and nine strikeouts.
The Diamondbacks' bullpen held the hot-hitting Philadelphia Phillies to one hit the rest of the game, and Ketel Marte's one-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run as Arizona prevailed 2-1 on Thursday in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
The Phillies still lead the best-of-seven set 2-1. Games 4 and 5 are scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Phoenix.
"Hundred percent it was a must-win game," said Arizona's Pavin Smith, who scored the winning run. "We're super confident when (Marte) comes up to the plate."
Marte, the Diamondbacks' leadoff man who already had two doubles on the day, drove an 0-1 pitch from Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel (0-1) into right-center field to end the game.
Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald (1-0) got the win with a scoreless top of the ninth. Arizona pitchers held the Phillies to three hits total.
Marte never gave it much thought about being a postseason hero.
"I feel really good, but I'm not surprised because I'm a hitter who has battled and put in the work," Marte said in Spanish. "To come up and give the team a win is the most important thing."
Marte will take a 12-game postseason hitting streak into Game 4, a streak dating back to 2017. He is one of only six players in major league history to have a hit in each of his first 12 career postseason games.
After the Phillies opened the scoring in the top of the seventh when Bryce Harper scored on a two-out wild pitch, the Diamondbacks rallied for the tying run in the bottom of the frame.
Tommy Pham singled and pinch runner Alek Thomas came home from first on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s double, but the Diamondbacks wasted runners at the corners with no outs and couldn't take the lead.
The Diamondbacks had another chance to go in front in the eighth after a two-out double from Gabriel Moreno. Christian Walker was then intentionally walked, and Thomas grounded out to end the inning.
Neither team could solve each other's starting pitcher. Pfaadt kept the Phillies off the scoreboard for 5 2/3 innings, after throwing 4 1/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series in his previous start.
Pfaadt held the Phillies, who exploded for 10 runs in Game 2, to two hits and no walks before giving way to reliever Andrew Saalfrank. Pfaadt struck out half of the 18 batters he faced. The plan, Lovullo said before the game, was for Pfaadt to throw up to 50 pitches, but Pfaadt threw 70.
"I'm sure I was the most unpopular guy in the city of Phoenix, in the downtown area and maybe the entire state of Arizona," Lovullo said.
Saalfrank was charged with the Phillies' only run when Ryan Thompson threw the wild pitch that allowed Harper to score.
Ranger Suarez, Philadelphia's starter, was just as sharp as Pfaadt. The left-hander struck out seven over 5 1/3 scoreless innings to continue his strong postseason. He yielded three hits and one walk.
However, after Marte led off the sixth with a double and Corbin Carroll grounded out sharply to second base, moving Marte to third, Suarez was lifted.
Jeff Hoffman came on and got the next two outs, stranding Marte at third.
In the ninth, Kimbrel issued a leadoff walk to Gurriel, who stole second and went to third on Smith's infield single. After Gurriel was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice, Kimbrel walked Geraldo Perdomo to set up Marte's walk-off hit.
"Not a lack of focus, I can tell you that," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. "These guys were locked in coming into the ballpark. Just gotta dust ourselves off, come back (Friday), and that's what this team does."
--Jose Romero, Field Level Media