PHOENIX — Just about everyone left Chase Field in a good mood on Sunday.
Robbie Ray wrapped up his first full major league season by striking out eight and the bullpen delivered 4.2 solid innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks (79-83) knocked off the Houston Astros by a score of 5-3 in front of a crowd of 24,788 on Fan Appreciation Day.
While the D-backs would obviously like to continue playing when the postseason begins this week, they showed considerable improvement over last year’s 64-win performance. If nothing else, the 2015 campaign showed they’re clearly moving in the right direction, and it was fitting that both A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt clubbed homeruns to fuel the final win of the year.
Even in defeat, the Astros went home happy as well. That’s because they ultimately clinched a playoff spot anyway, courtesy of the Texas Rangers’ win over the Los Angeles Angels in Arlington. Houston sneaks in as the AL’s second wild card, and will now travel to New York to face the Yankees in a single-elimination game.
-For the most part, Ray had his slider working and was keeping his fastballs down. That proved to be a good combination.
-Pollock capped off his impressive season with three more hits, including his 20th home run of the year. He also stole his 39th base for good measure and finished the season by reaching base safely in 21 of his final 22 games.
-Goldschmidt made the most of his final at-bat, crushing a 3-2 Chad Qualls pitch into the left field bullpen for his 33rd longball of the season. It gave Arizona the lead for good.
-As he’s done so many times this season, Brad Ziegler induced a key double play to help get out of a jam in the ninth. Ziegler tied the club record with his 28th consecutive save.
-The Diamondbacks tied a franchise high with their 11th interleague win of the season.
-Arizona pitchers fanned 14 Houston batters today.
-The Diamondbacks stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the third.
-The Astros were able to even the score at 3-3 in the top of the seventh, courtesy of a walk, a single and a wild pitch by Daniel Hudson – all coming with two outs.
STAT OF THE GAME
15: That’s the number of wins the Arizona Diamondbacks improved by this year, going from 64 to 79. When last season concluded, they were behind every club in baseball. Twelve months later, they were able to move ahead of a dozen teams.
HE SAID IT
“We had one left and, you know, we went out there and we played well. And we go into the offseason on a good note.” – A.J. Pollock
-The total season attendance for D-backs game at Chase Field this season finished at 2,080,139. That means they’ve eclipsed the 2,000,000 mark in each of their 18 seasons in the Valley.
-The Arizona Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America named Goldschmidt as Team MVP, Brad Ziegler as the club’s Most Valuable Pitcher, Nick Ahmed as the team’s Rookie of the Year and gave Chase Anderson the Good Guy Award.
-The 79 wins that Chip Hale accumulated in his first season as Arizona’s manager are second only to the 92 that Bob Brenley posted in 2001 for most by a first-year manager in franchise history.
-“Mark Grace” won the final Legends Race of the season, his 14th victory on the year. Prior to 2015, he had never registered a single win.
The Diamondbacks will take on the Colorado Rockies but not until the season opener on April 4, 2016.
This was it for the 2015 version of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Manager Chip Hale, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa, general manager Dave Stewart and the players will speak with the media Monday morning before heading out for the offseason.