The two worst teams in the National League attracted the third-smallest crowd to Chase Field this season.
Those that were in attendance Monday night were treated to 17 runs on 28 hits with 14 runners left on base and eight pitching changes all wrapped together in a tight three-hour, 18-minute package of a game.
In the end, many of the 15,789 fans left happy as the Arizona Diamondbacks won, 9-8.
The difference: Paul Goldschmidt’s leadoff home run in the ninth inning, sending the D-backs to a walk-off victory to open the homestand and four-games series with the Atlanta Braves.
It was the home team’s second win in three games.
The Braves, meanwhile, have dropped 10 of 12 to fall to 45-80.
The D-backs improved to 52-73.
It was Goldschmidt’s third hit of the game and second RBI.
Yasmany Tomas also had two RBI, hitting a two-out, two-run home run in the third inning.
Welington Castillo recorded three RBI for the D-backs, who had fallen behind 5-0 after the second inning.
Castillo capped the rally with a two-out, three-run double in the seventh inning, which put the D-backs in front, 8-7, an advantage they would lose two innings later when Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run, his second homer of the game.
Six of the D-backs nine runs came with two outs.
A strong, accurate arm was displayed by rookie outfielder Mitch Haniger in the second inning, saving a run. With a runner on second and two outs, Matt Kemp singled to left. Third base coach Bo Porter waved Freeman home only to be cut down by Haniger’s throw and Castillo’s tag. Freeman, it should be mentioned, failed to slide. It was Haniger’s first career outfield assist in his fourth start in left field.
Timely hitting accounted for the D-backs’ first run of the game. Castillo lined a one-out double into the left field corner, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Two batters later, with two outs and Castillo now at third, Chris Owings grounded a ball through the right side for an RBI single to make it 5-1, Atlanta. Owings, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, now has hit safely in 12 of his last 15 games.
Guess Tomas has solved his hitting woes at Chase Field. After striking out in his first plate appearance, Tomas homered in his second, launching a two-out, two-run shot onto the concourse in left-center field to pull the D-backs to within a run, 5-4, in the third inning. It was Tomas’ career-high 26th home run of the season and 13th in his last 22 starts. Nine of his past 16 hits have all exited the ballpark.
Threes were wild for both Michael Bourn and Jean Segura. They each recorded three hits, their third coming in the seventh inning. Segura hit a one-out double down the left field line, while Bourn singled to center, scoring Segura with the D-backs’ fifth run of the game. Bourn, who went 3-for-5, has now recorded two or more hits in six of his last 12 games, and he has reached base safely in 27 of his past 29 starts.
Of course, the big hit in the seventh came off the bat of Castillo. After Tomas walked to load the bases, Castillo cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double to highlight the four-run inning. It was his second double of the game, giving him 19 on the season. The Tomas plate appearance may have been the at-bat of the game as he stared down ball four to keep the inning alive, allowing Castillo to be the hero.
Eight pitches. That’s all the Braves needed to take the early lead. With one on and one out in the first inning, Freeman jumped on starter Zack Godley’s first offering and lifted the ball high and far over the fence in left field. It was Freeman’s career-high 25th home run of the season and 62nd extra-base hit, fourth-best in the league. It also extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games. The Braves added a third run three batters later on Flowers’ RBI groundout. The three runs scored were one more than Godley allowed in his previous outing, which totaled a career-high 7.1 innings against the Mets.
Ten pitches. That’s how long it took for the Braves to extend their lead in the second inning. With one on and two outs, Adonis Garcia lined Godley’s 1-1 offering over the fence in right field, putting the Braves up 5-0 only 11 batters into the game. It was Garcia’s 10th home run, extending his hitting streak to six games. He’s now reached base safely via hit or walk in 13 of his last 14 games. For Godley, the two home runs allowed matched a single-game career high, first done against the Nationals on Aug. 3 in a game he and the D-backs lost, 8-3. Godley has allowed eight total home runs thus far this season.
How many times have we’ve seen it this season: Following a mound visit, a D-backs pitcher allows a base hit or RBI on their very next throw. It happened again, this time in the fifth inning. After back-to-back walks to open the frame, Mike Butcher went to talk to Godley, who then proceeded to allow an RBI-single to Nick Markakis, putting the Braves in front, 6-4. Two batters later, Chase d’Arnaud added a second run with a sacrifice fly, and just like that, what had been a one-run deficit for the D-backs became three. Each of the three walks Godley issued scored, while the seven runs he allowed were a season-high.
The bullpen. Again. This time, Enrique Burgos fell victim. In line for his second save in three days, he instead allowed a ninth-inning, leadoff home run to Freeman, who swung on a 3-0 count and launched the ball into the right field seats to tie the game at 8. Freeman improved to 4-for-5 with two home runs when given the green light, 3-0, this season. He finished the game 3-for-4 with a walk. For Burgos, it marked the second time in three games he had been scored upon after nine straight scoreless appearances. But as luck would have it, Burgos ended up earning the victory, his first win since Oct. 1, 2015, against the Rockies.
STAT OF GAME
5: The D-backs overcame a five-run deficit (5-0 after the top of the second inning), their largest come-from-behind victory of the season, and their largest since overcoming a six-run hole on June 3, 2015, against the Braves, when they trailed 6-0 after the top of the second only to win, 9-8
HE SAID IT
“Honestly, I was just trying to find a way to get on base there,” Goldschmidt said of his walk-off. “He got ahead with a curveball and then left a changeup up and I just reacted and was fortunate to be able to get it out of there. It was a good win.”
– Goldschmidt recorded his sixth career walk-off hit, four of which are walk-off home runs.
– Castillo is hitting .484 (15-for-31) with four doubles and 10 RBI over his last nine games
– Segura is hitting .412 (28-for-68) with 10 doubles and seven RBI over his last 15 games.
– Tomas has homered in four straight games at Chase Field, matching the franchise record.
– Ex-D-backs Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson were each cheered in their first at-bats.
– Wearing their home white uniforms with black gradient “A” cap, the D-backs moved to 5-7.
– With a first-pitch temperature of 92 degrees, the roof and panels were closed for the game.
The series continues with a pair of right-handers taking the mound in Archie Bradley and Rob Whalen on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Bradley (4-8) did not factor into the decision in his last outing, when he allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4.1 innings at San Diego, a 9-8 loss.
Bradley is winless over his past four appearances, and he has just one victory over his past 11.
This will be Bradley’s second career start against the Braves. He suffered a loss on June 1, 2015, at Chase Field.
Meanwhile, Whalen (1-2) has never faced the D-backs. Of course, he’s brand new to the big leagues.
Whalen was called up earlier this month and has made four starts. He won his debut against the Pirates on Aug. 3 but is entering this outing having lost back-to-back games to the Nationals, giving up a combined seven runs on nine hits in 11 total innings.