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Sedona Red Recap: On ‘Superhero Night’ no less, Nick Ahmed delivered his own heroics

With one out in the bottom of the 13th inning, he singled in the game-winning run to put an end to the series opener against the Chicago Cubs, 5-4, some four hours and 27 minutes after first pitch on Friday.

It was shortstop Nick Ahmed’s first career walk-off hit, and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ second of the season, extending their winning streak to five — a season-best.

However, the game nearly ended in the 10th.

After the Cubs scored twice — on RBI singles by Kris Bryant and Starlin Castro — off reliever Addison Reed, the D-backs plated two of their own, all thanks to Paul Goldschmidt, who with two outs and two strikes hit a two-run home run to tie the game at four.

Both starters had exited long before the 34,498 fans in attendance at Chase Field were treated to free baseball.

Josh Collmenter, who had lost his past two starts, worked five innings allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. His final line wasn’t bad — in fact it was his best outing of the month — but a high pitch-count resulted in a shorter evening than he would’ve preferred.

Collmenter threw 95 pitches.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s Jon Lester saw his four-game winning streak end. He gave up a run in the first and another in the fifth before exiting after seven innings and a sixth straight quality start, during which he owns a 2.25 ERA (10 ER in 40.0 IP).

The D-backs improved to 4-2 in extra-inning games, including a perfect 4-0 at home, winning their sixth straight over the Cubs.

THE GOOD

For the third straight game the D-backs jumped in front of the opposition with a first-inning run. Goldschmidt singled home A.J. Pollock, who had tripled off the base of the wall in center field. Goldschmidt’s 33rd RBI tied him with Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun for the third-most in the National League.

By the way, Pollock’s three-bagger was his first of the season. He added singles in the third and 12th, plus a double in the 10th, to finish 4-for-6. He is now 10-for-16 (.625) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBI and seven runs scored in his past four games.

Goldschmidt and Pollock combined for three stolen bases. Goldschmidt swiped a pair — his seventh and eighth of the season — tying a career-high for the third time. Pollock recorded his team-leading 10th. The D-backs have been successful in their last 11 stolen base attempts and in 13 of their last 14. They rank second in the league with 40, trailing only Cincinnati (43).

It would appear that all the extra work in the cage and time watching video is paying off for Ahmed. His fifth-inning lead-off home run tied the game at two and pushed his average to .200 — the highest it’s been since game two of the season. Ahmed went 3-for-6 and is now hitting .444 (12-for-27) with a double, home run and seven RBI in his past nine games.

After relieving Collmenter in the sixth, Daniel Hudson pitched two innings, retiring all six batters he faced. It was Hudson’s second straight scoreless two-inning effort. He struck out three, giving him 15 in six appearances (10.1 IP) in May.

Following Hudson to the mound was Enrique Burgos, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for his third straight scoreless appearance. He struck out a pair which ran his streak of two strikeouts or more to six consecutive games.

Goldschmidt’s 10th-inning two-run homer — belted to left field on a 2-2 pitch — was his second career extra-inning home run and eighth career game-tying home run. In fact, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Goldschmidt became the first player in D-backs’ history to hit a two-out, game-tying home run in extra innings. The two RBI moved him past Braun for third-most in the league and gave Goldschmidt his fifth game of three RBI or more. He is one of only five players to have accomplished such a mark.

THE BAD

After a clean, 11-pitch first inning, Collmenter threw a whopping 30 pitches in a scoreless second. Cubs left fielder Junior Lake saw just over one-third of the throws before flying out to right field to end an 11-pitch at-bat. The next batter, David Ross, coaxed a two-out walk after Collmenter got ahead in the count 0-2.

Another 23 pitches were thrown by Collmenter in the third inning. His ninth offering was lined over the right field fence for a home run, as Dexter Fowler ripped the 3-2 cut fastball for his fifth homer of the season, one that tied the game at one. This season, Collmenter has allowed eight home runs, seven of which have come in his last four starts.

Hitless in their last 31 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Cubs singled twice in five such opportunities in the fourth inning. The second hit, an infield single by Addison Russell, scored Jorge Soler, who had hit a lead-off double off the wall in center field that Pollock appeared to misjudge. The Cubs took a 2-1 lead on Russell’s 12th RBI of the season.

Called upon to pitch the 10th inning, Reed, who had recorded three straight scoreless appearances on the just completed road trip, managed to retire only one batter, the lead-off hitter. Four straight hitters reached base, including Bryant and Castro. They each singled to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. Reed also walked two, one intentionally.

The D-backs ran themselves into outs in both the seventh and 11th innings. First, Tuffy Gosewisch was picked off at first base. He led off the seventh with a walk but then strayed too far off the bag after a pitch to Ahmed. The throw from Ross came in behind Gosewisch, who was tagged out easily by Anthony Rizzo for out number one. Later in the 11th, Ahmed, after a base hit to right field, was picked off and caught stealing 1-3-6 to end the inning.

The D-backs wasted a golden opportunity to end the game in the 12th inning. With one out, they had the bases loaded thanks to a pair of walks sandwiched around Pollock’s fourth hit of the night. However, Yasmany Tomas and pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco each struck out, sending the game to a 13th and final inning.

STAT OF THE GAME

5: The number of consecutive wins by the D-backs, their longest streak since a five-game stretch from July 3-7, 2013

HE SAID IT

“I was just trying to get something up in the zone and drive him in,” Ahmed said of his walk-off single. “Got the two strikes and was just trying to make sure that slider was up in the zone because he had bounced one the previous pitch. He left it a little bit elevated and I was able to get the barrel on it.”

NOTED

Nice move by the D-backs as they acknowledged former catcher Miguel Montero on the scoreboard prior to the start of the second inning.

For only the 11th time in his career Goldschmidt struck out after working the count to 3-0 in his favor in the third inning.

After throwing out Rizzo trying to steal third base in the 10th inning, Gosewisch has caught seven-of-his-last 14 (50 percent) attempted basestealers.

Tomas went 1-for-6, falling one game short of Luis Gonzalez’s club record of seven straight multi-hit performances.

Bronson Arroyo performed a postgame concert, joining the band Whiskey’s Quicker on stage at the Game Seven Grill.

UP NEXT

The series continues with a pair of right-handers — Rubby De La Rosa and Jake Arrieta — taking the mound in game two of the three-game set on Saturday, May 23.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

De La Rosa (4-2) is undefeated in his last three starts, going 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA (6 ER in 23.0 IP). He threw a career-high nine innings in a no-decision his last time out May 18 at Miami, becoming the fifth pitcher in team history to not factor in the outcome when going nine innings.

De La Rosa will be making his first career appearance against the Cubs.

Arrieta (4-4), meanwhile, has lost three of his last four starts, including a one-run, seven-inning effort on May 17 against the Pirates. He became the first Cubs pitcher since Jeff Samardzjia on May 22, 2013 to be tagged with a loss despite allowing one or no earned runs in at least seven innings pitched.

Arrieta has faced the D-backs just once in his career, July 20 of last season, when he surrendered three runs in 6.2 innings, taking the loss as the Cubs fell 3-2 at Chase Field. He walked three and struck out eight.

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