Until the eighth inning, it looked like the Marlins were going to be a thorn in the Diamondbacks’ side for a second consecutive night. Instead, the Marlins failed to hold a one-run lead as the Diamondbacks secured a 3-2 walk-off win Sunday at Chase Field.
Instead, they got a front-row seat as the Diamondbacks gathered on the field to celebrate clinching home field advantage in the NL wild-card game.
“[Tthe Diamondbacks clinching] changes the game really in our eyes, too,” manager Don Mattingly said. “I thought our guys did great in the series. Obviously, you saw the first two days we came out swinging the bats. But today, they did a really great job with our lineup.”
The Marlins held a 2-1 lead until Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second after the ball went under the glove of Marcell Ozuna in left field. Second baseman Daniel Descalso drove him in with an RBI single off Brad Ziegler to tie the score.
The game remained tied heading into the bottom of the ninth, where Diamondbacks right fielder J.D. Martinez hit a game-winning single off Javy Guerra. The walk-off hit prompted a mob on the field followed by a champagne shower in the Diamondbacks clubhouse — while the Marlins slowly made their way back to the visiting locker room.
“You kind of knew it was going to come down to who executed in the end,” Mattingly said.
Dan Straily tossed six innings and allowed just one run on four hits in an impressive outing. He struck out nine Diamondbacks hitters while battling through high-stress innings with traffic on the bases.
For Straily, it was his second straight impressive start following an eight-run, 13-hit drubbing on Sept. 13 at Philadelphia. In his last time out, the right-hander struck out eight hitters in a winning effort against the Mets on Sept. 18.
“He threw a really good game today,” Mattingly said. “Obviously, that’s a really good lineup down there, so to hold those guys to one run is a feat. He did a good job of mixing his pitches and using his breaking ball for outs.”
The Fish drew first blood in the third inning after Giancarlo Stanton drove in Straily following the pitcher’s one-out double. Miami went up 2-0 in the fourth when Brian Anderson doubled in J.T. Realmuto, and Arizona made it a one-run game after Chris Herrmann hit a solo home run off Straily in the fifth.
Still, it was Straily who kept the Marlins in the game.
After Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin hit a one-out triple in the third, the right-hander retired David Peralta and Ketel Marte to escape the jam. Straily’s biggest test came in the sixth inning, where a walk to Daniel Descalso and a double to Jake Lamb set the scene for a Diamondbacks rally as the righty eclipsed 100 pitches. But A.J. Pollock couldn’t check his swing on a slider as the Marlins escaped with the lead.
“I had a feel for what was working, and thankfully I had two different off-speed pitches at my disposal today,” Straily said. “Really, just trying to keep these guys on their heels as much as possible.”
Straily highlighted his ability to execute in situations where the game was in the balance.
“Just strike the next guy out. It’s one of those things where if you have the ability to strike a guy out, it’s a must right there” Straily said. “Just like after [Corbin’s triple], that’s a must-strikeout situation there in the third. That was the mentality I had in those at-bats.”
In his quest for a 60-home run season, Stanton was 1-for-2 with an RBI single and two walks. He entered Sunday’s contest with two career home runs vs. Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin.
Stanton’s home run total remains at 57 with seven games remaining after his solo home run off Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker on Saturday.
Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were the last players to hit 60 home runs in one season, with both players reaching the mark in 2001. Just five players have ever accomplished the feat (Bonds, Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth).