For a moment, it looked as if the Arizona Diamondbacks were going to do it again.
Starting pitcher Trevor Cahill turned in his longest outing in almost a year and his team came close to squandering it.
But instead, extra-innings heroics reclaimed it, with force, and the Diamondbacks earned a series split with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Diamondbacks had a 2-1 lead after the third inning, when they used an RBI groundout and an RBI single to get on the board.
Then Brad Ziegler, who was pitching in his fourth game of the last five days, allowed a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly, which put the Pirates back into a tie for the lead. A 6-3-2 double play ultimately got him out of trouble.
In the following two innings, the Diamondbacks managed to strand three men in scoring position.
But the 10th inning was different — in a lot of ways.
The Diamondbacks, again, looked to be wasting an opportunity, but Nick Ahmed’s glove hand — not his glove — saved the day. With men on the corners and one out, Andy Marte knocked a tailor-made double play ball to Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer. But after second baseman Jayson Nix made the turn and fired to first base to complete the play, Ahmed’s left hand deflected the ball — sending it dribbling toward the pitcher’s mound, buying time for Tuffy Gosewich to score the walk-off run.
Here’s a look at the Diamondbacks’ win, by the numbers:
Diamondbacks starting pitchers have combined for a 2.13 ERA over their last eight starts.
It has been nearly four months since Cahill has struck out seven hitters in a game — something he accomplished against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this season.
The Diamondbacks are 5-0 in extra innings games at Chase Field this season; 9-2 in all extra innings games this season.
The win was the Diamondbacks’ seventh walk-off win of the season, with their last coming on July 9 against the Miami Marlins.
Controversy wasn’t isolated to the final play of the game. Along with the retaliation storylines which lingered from a game prior, another plate-blocking play came into focus in the eighth inning, when Gosewich tagged Gregory Polanco out at home — calling Rule 7.13 into question. The rule, which is new this season, prohibits a catcher from blocking a runner’s pathyway to home plate.
It has been 346 days since Cahill last went 7.0 innings in a game, when he accomplished as much against the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 22 of last year.