PHOENIX — After looking lifeless through the first eight innings of Saturday’s contest against the visiting Atlanta Braves, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ offense somehow revived itself when it mattered most.
Ender Inciarte parlayed a free pass from Braves closer Craig Kimbrel into the game-tying run in the ninth, after Aaron Hill, serving in a pinch-hitting capacity, laced an RBI double off the three-time All-Star down the right field line.
And despite watching that effort go to waste moments later in the top half of 10th on Jason Heyward’s long solo shot off of Addison Reed, the D-backs didn’t go into the night quietly.
Miguel Montero, who began the night 0-for-4, promptly responded with an extra-inning home run of his own, taking Anthony Varvaro’s 2-1 offering two rows deep into the left field bleachers.
Following Montero’s blast, former Brave Randall Delgado threw a scoreless 11th inning, striking out Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson in the process.
Arizona’s final blow came in the bottom half of that frame, as Gerardo Parra deposited a broken-bat flare into center field to plate Cody Ross for the winning run in a 4-3 walk-off victory.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play [against Braves right-hander David Carpenter],” Parra said. “The last four at-bats I didn’t feel like I put the ball in play. But that last one, I wanted to in that situation and it was a base hit.”
Parra’s walk-off RBI was the second of his big league career and it helped put an end to Arizona’s four-game home losing streak.
Left-hander Wade Miley didn’t factor in the decision, though he did avoid tying his career high with a fourth consecutive loss. Propelled by a four-pitch opening frame, Miley allowed only one earned run on six hits over seven impressive innings of work.
“He threw the ball very, very well for us,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He just kept coming at them and kept the ball down I thought a lot better today. In his last game here, when they got the four home runs he left some balls up in the zone. But he pounded the ball down in the zone much better tonight.”
Miley picked up his seventh quality start of the campaign. It was also the second time all year he allowed just a single run in an appearance.
“Like I’ve been saying you just have to go out there and compete,” Miley said. “I’m just trying to execute pitches. That’s pretty much it. Go out there and execute pitches and get outs.”
Coming into the National League affair, Miley had struggled mightily against opposing teams’ six-hole hitters — to the tune of a .531 batting average with six home runs and 14 RBI. However, he had no problem with the Braves’ No. 6 batter, former teammate Chris Johnson.
The third-year southpaw retired Johnson all three times he stepped into the box.
Making the most of his Bobblehead Night, Martin Prado (3-for-5) put together his fourth multi-hit performance of the month. The D-backs’ third baseman has hit safely in all eight games he’s appeared in against the Braves.
Arizona saw its leadoff batter reach base in each of the first five innings, yet only one time did that batter cross home plate.
Paul Goldschmidt and Montero stranded Didi Gregorius in scoring position on two separate occasions, including the third inning when the duo meagerly concluded the frame with a pair of harmless grounders.
In the fourth, Prado reached base with a single through the left side but was quickly retired on a twin killing off the bat of David Peralta.
Inciarte continued the trend the following inning with a base knock, but he, Gregorius and Goldschmidt were stranded yet again as Montero came up empty with an inning-ending grounder to first base.
Before Hill’s game-tying double in the ninth, Arizona was an abysmal 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Stat of the Game I:
116: Growing into his role as the D-backs’ leadoff hitter du jour with A.J. Pollock on the shelf, Gregorius, who was playing in his No. 116 career game, stole his first bag after reaching in the third on an error.
In parts of seven minor league seasons in Arizona and Cincinnati’s farm systems respectively, Gregorius swiped 44 bases.
Stat of the Game II:
Of the D-backs’ 64 games played this season, 36 have been decided by two runs or less. And in those 36 games, Arizona has an 19-17 record.
He Said It:
“I think we’d like to do it like this every day. It doesn’t happen like that, but I did think we showed character tonight.” – D-backs manager Kirk Gibson
• With his single off Ervin Santana in the second, Peralta tied the franchise record for most consecutive games with a hit to start a career (6). Alex Cabrera also achieved the feat with Arizona from June 26 – July 17, 2000.
• So far in 2014, Miley has been a victor just once when pitching in the Valley. His only win at home came in his first start on April 1 against the San Francisco Giants.
• Gregorius started at second base for the first time in his career Saturday. He was tested right away in an action-packed first inning, recording three consecutive putouts off the bats of Heyward, B.J. Upton and Freddie Freeman.
• In five games as the visitor at Chase Field, former D-back Justin Upton has seven hits, four runs scored and three RBI.
• After committing errors in back-to-back innings, Dan Uggla took over the lead in that department among all MLB second basemen with nine.
Rookie Chase Anderson will look to guide the D-backs to a series victory when he takes the mound in Sunday’s rubber match against the Braves. Anderson, who is a perfect 4-0 in four career starts, will be opposed by a veteran 10 years his senior, Aaron Harang. On his seventh big league team since 2002, Harang is 4-4 with a 3.24 ERA this season.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.