In a game that neither team wanted to win, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally did.
In the 332nd minute, well after the clock had struck midnight, Aaron Hill hit a 2-2 slider into center field to score Gerardo Parra with the game-winning run, sending the Diamondbacks to a 9-8 victory in 14 innings in the series opener against the Cleveland Indians in front of an announced crowd of 20,945 at Chase Field on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty fitting he got down to it at the end and there he got it,” manager Kirk Gibson said of Hill.
The Diamondbacks erased deficits of 5-2 and 8-6 for their 14th come-from-behind win, but they also wasted leads of 1-0 and 6-5, the latter surrendered by closer Addison Reed in the ninth.
Neither starter — Arizona’s Wade Miley nor Cleveland’s Justin Masterson — completed five innings, putting tremendous pressure on the bullpens.
“We made it hard on ourselves, for sure. But yeah, you got to give them credit,” Gibson said. “They fought (with) a lot of grit. They battled.”
Hill’s hit, officially recorded as a single, was the 10th walk-off plate appearance of his career and the fifth this season by the Diamondbacks, who improved to 5-2 in extra-inning games, including 3-0 at home.
“If you’ve got to play 10 hours just to get the win, you take it,” Miguel Montero said.
Montero continues to prove that last season was the exception rather than the norm. In his first of six official at-bats, he smashed a one-out double to left, scoring the Diamondbacks’ first run. It was Montero’s 42nd RBI, matching his total from all of last season.
Three innings later, Montero exceeded last season’s RBI total, swinging on a 3-0 pitch and singling to the opposite field to drive in Ender Inciarte to trim the deficit to one, 5-4. Montero finished 2-for-6 after being held to one hit in his previous 11 at-bats (.091).
With his sixth-inning single to center plus intentional walk in the seventh, Paul Goldschmidt has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games, during which time he is hitting .310 (18-for-58) with five doubles, four homers, eight RBI and 18 walks.
Parra went 5-for-7, exceeding his hit production over his last eight games (4-for-33). He doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the sixth. The five hits tied a career-high.
Inciarte established a new career-high with four hits. He also drew a walk, reaching base five times in eight plate appearances.
Tremendous job by Joe Thatcher. He relieved Wade Miley with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth inning and retires the next three batters to keep it a one-run game, 5-4, the first time in his career that he escaped an inherited bases load situation by recording all three outs without allowing a run.
The D-backs received a good performance out of Oliver Perez as well. He struck out four of the six batters he faced, including all three in the sixth inning when 10 of his 13 pitches went for strikes. Perez gave up just one hit in his 1.2 innings pitched and now sports a 0.54 ERA in 18 appearances.
The Diamondbacks recorded their major league-best 24th outfield assist in the 13th. Former Arizona State Sun Devil Jason Kipnis ripped a 2-1 pitch from Matt Stites off the center field wall. With Kipnis racing around the bases, Inciarte tracked the ball down, threw to Gregorius who fired a missile to home plate where Montero applied the tag to end the inning, keeping the game tied, 8-8.
With one out and runners on second and third in the first inning, Hill and Martin Prado struck out in back-to-back at-bats, squandering an opportunity to add to the Diamondbacks 1-0 lead.
The Diamondbacks also failed to capitalize in the second inning, when, with a run already in and one out, Parra flied out and Goldschmidt struck out, leaving runners on first and second.
This would become a theme as the Diamondbacks left at least two runners on in five of the first seven innings, going 5-for-19 with runners in scoring position. For the game, the Diamondbacks stranded 19 runners, setting a new season-high and went 7-for-24 with runners in scoring position.
Armed with a 1-0 lead, Miley failed to shut down the Indians the next half-inning. The first four batters of the second inning reached base, including an RBI single by Yan Gomes and a two-run triple by Lonnie Chisenhall. Ryan Raybun hit a sacrifice fly to complete the four-run frame, in which Miley threw 30 pitches.
Miley found himself in a similiar situation in the third inning. His team had cut the lead in half, 4-2, yet Miley was unable to keep the Indians off the scoreboard. Back-to-back one-out hits preceded a Didi Gregorius fielding error, his second of the season, to load the bases. Gomes then hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 5-2 score.
STAT OF THE GAME
5:32 – The time of game, tied for the longest in Chase Field history; also on April 3, 2013 against the Cardinals in 16 innings.
HE SAID IT
“It’s hard to do. It doesn’t happen very often. It was a turning point for us,” Thatcher said of escaping a bases loaded, no outs situation in the fifth inning. “Just got to go in there and forget that the bases are loaded, just go in there and make pitches, be aggressive and if they are going to hit it hope they hit it at somebody.”
• Video replay was used in the bottom of the first after Indians manager Terry Francona challenged first base umpire Chad Fairchild’s call that Santana was pulled off the bag trying to field a throw from second, enabling Goldschmidt to avoid hitting into a 6-4-3 double play; the review lasted 2:43 and upheld the call.
• Prado took a 2-1 change-up from Justin Masterson off what appeared to be the inside of his right leg in the third inning, marking the sixth time he had been hit by a pitch this season, tied with Montero for team-high honors.
• Miley lasted a season-low four innings, his shortest outing since September 3, 2013 against the Blue Jays (1.2 IP) and he has now thrown 542.2 innings which ranks third-most by a Diamondbacks left-hander.
• Thatcher has now held opponents scoreless in 16 of his last 19 appearances (2.45 ERA; 3 ER in 11.0 IP) and he has not walked a batters in his last 21 appearances (12.0 IP; 49 batters faced).
• With Parra’s steal of second in the 14th, the Diamondbacks successfully stole their eighth straight base and have now swiped 18 of their last 19 overall.
• Every Diamondbacks position player had at least one hit and every available player, off the bench and in the bullpen, was used with the exception of starting pitchers.
• Shortstop Chris Owings did not start for a third straight game because of a sore left shoulder, which he hurt on a play at the plate in the previous series against the Giants.
After winning each of his first five starts, rookie right-hander Chase Anderson is in the midst of a two-game losing streak. He takes the mound in the series finale against the Indians on Wednesday.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Anderson (5-2, 3.18) has dropped his last two outings despite allowing only a pair of runs in both starts, facing the Dodgers and Brewers.
He’ll be opposed by fellow right-hander Cory Kluber (6-5, 3.30), the Indians’ best pitcher. The 28-year-old went 4-0 in six starts in May, but has not won since. This will be his first career start or appearance against the Diamondbacks.