October 19, 2023, 8:27 PM
PHOENIX (AP) — More than 15 minutes after the game, Ketel Marte stood at his clubhouse locker, gulping water while trying to finally catch his breath after delivering the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ latest clutch postseason moment.
“After my hit, I sprinted so hard,” Marte said, shaking his head.
Marte capped a three-hit afternoon with a walk-off single in the ninth, rookie Brandon Pfaadt pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and the Diamondbacks rallied to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Thursday and close to 2-1 in the NL Championship Series.
On the verge of falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven matchup, Arizona tied the score on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.‘s RBI double in the seventh.
Gurriel opened the ninth with a leadoff walk off Craig Kimbrel, stole second and took third on Pavin Smith’s infield single.
Gurriel was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Trea Turner on Emmanuel Rivera’s hard-hit grounder as the Phillies played the infield in. Geraldo Perdomo walked after falling behind 1-2 in the count and Marte – one of the few Diamondbacks who has looked comfortable at the plate this series – hit a liner that fell in front of centre fielder Johan Rojas, sending the D-backs onto the field in celebration.
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Marte said he wasn’t nervous during his at-bat.
“I’m not a pressure guy,” Marte said. “I know what kind of hitter I am.”
It was the third postseason walk-off win for the Diamondbacks after series-winning hits by Tony Womack’s in the 2001 Division Series and Luis Gonzalez in 2001 World Series. Marte has a 12-game postseason hitting streak.
Defending NL champion Philadelphia had opened the postseason 7-1 and and outscored the Diamondbacks 15-3 over two games at Citizens Bank Park, hitting six homers.
Bryce Harper had put the Phillies ahead in the seventh when he scored on Ryan Thompson’s wild pitch.
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After throwing 4.1 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS clincher, Pfaadt struck out nine and allowed two hits against the Phillies with a mid-90s fastball and a nifty sweeper that had hitters chasing.
“It was fun – I had a lot of things working,” Pfaadt said. “I was able to hone in on a few things, execute the way I wanted and get some big outs.”
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Pfaadt combined with Andrew Saalfrank, Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald on a three-hitter. Sewald, who got the win, stranded Harper on second in the ninth when Alec Bohm took a called third strike.
Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez gave up three hits and struck out seven in 5.1 innings, leaving after Marte’s leadoff double in the sixth. Suarez’s 0.94 ERA is the lowest in a pitcher’s first eight career postseason appearances.
Harper walked against Saalfrank starting the seventh and Bohm followed with an infield single against Thompson. Bryson Stott grounded into a double play as Harper took third, and Thompson yanked an 0-1 slider that swerved over the left-handed batter’s box and bounced to the backstop. The ball rebounded to catcher Gabriel Montero, whose too-late throw sailed past the pitcher covering the plate as Harper slid headfirst.
Arizona had been scoreless for 17 innings until the seventh. Tommy Pham singled off Orion Kerkering and Gurriel doubled down into the left-field corner. Smith singled to put runners at the corners but Jose Alvarado got Rivera to ground into a double play and Perdomo grounded out.
The first two games of the NLCS were a hot ticket in Philadelphia, with fans paying hundreds of bucks just to get in the door.
Game 3 at Chase Field was much more affordable. Less than an hour before the game, seats were available on SeatGeek for as low as $18 and on StubHub for as low as $14. Prices were so low that Phillies fans claimed they bought tickets just to keep potential D-backs fans out of the stadium.
The D-backs announced a sellout crowd of 47,075 and the seats looked 99% full for a game that started at 2:07 p.m.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo shuffled his lineup significantly for Game 3 against the left-handed Suarez, flipping Marte and Corbin Carroll at the top of the order. He also batted Moreno third, dropped Pham to fifth and played the right-handed hitting Rivera at third base. Thomas – a left-handed hitter – wasn’t in the starting lineup. He was 0 for 5 in the first two games.
Game 4 is on Friday night at 5:07 p.m. local time (8:07 p.m. EDT).
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