ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Sedona Red Recap: Martinez strikes again as D-backs clinch playoffs

Sep 24, 2017, 6:27 PM
Arizona Diamondbacks players celebrate a walk off single by J.D. Martinez as they clinch a National...
Arizona Diamondbacks players celebrate a walk off single by J.D. Martinez as they clinch a National League Wild Card playoff spot in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Marlins 3-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX, Ariz. — It may have seemed improbable back in March, but that doesn’t really matter now. Because on Sept. 24, it has officially become reality.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are going to the playoffs.

Torey Lovullo’s group locked up a postseason berth for the first time since 2011, edging the Miami Marlins by a final of 3-2 in front of a fired up crowd at Chase Field on Sunday afternoon.

Arizona entered the day just looking to clinch a spot in the playoffs, but that drama was gone by the third inning. With the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals losing their games against the Cubs and Pirates, respectively, the D-backs were already in. But home field in that one-game Wild Card matchup on Oct. 4 was still up for grabs.

An Arizona victory would ensure that game was played at Chase, so who else but J.D. Martinez would step up in a key moment? After falling behind 2-0 early, the D-backs rallied to even the score at 2-2 in the eighth, then loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth.

Ketel Marte and Paul Goldschmidt each grounded out, and the Marlins were able to make plays at the plate to prevent the winning run from crossing home plate. But that just set the stage for Martinez — with two outs and the bases still loaded — to add yet another memorable moment to the long list he has compiled since coming to the desert in July. And he delivered, with a hard-hit, game-winning single to end the game, claim the National League’s No. 1 wild card spot for Arizona and send the fans at Chase into a frenzy.

THE GOOD 

–A.J. Pollock made a nice running catch in center on a well-hit ball by Miguel Rojas in the third.

–Patrick Corbin helped his own cause by hitting a triple in the bottom of the third.

–Chris Herrmann hit his 10th homer of the season in the fifth to get the Diamondbacks on the board.

–Corbin made a slick play to dive to his left and scoop up a Rojas bunt in the seventh inning, while simultaneously flicking the ball to Goldschmidt to record the out at first. He finished the game with another quality start, scattering two earned runs over 6.2 innings.

–Daniel Descalso ignited the eighth inning rally, singling home Goldschmidt to tie the game, then stealing second.

–With five more strikeouts today, Corbin now has 176 for the season. He joins Robbie Ray (212) and Zack Greinke (211) as Arizona’s first ever trio of pitchers to post 175+ strikeouts in the same season.

–After the win, the D-backs celebrated in the clubhouse, then took the party to the swimming pool in right field.

THE BAD 

–There wasn’t much, other than the D-backs stranding Corbin at third in the third inning, and nearly leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. But that all just added to the drama.

STAT OF THE GAME 

0: Arizona’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot.

10-0: Arizona’s record when Chris Herrmann homers.

HE SAID IT 

“Feels great, it’s cold. We talked about it all year, talked about it in spring training. You know, you want to spray champagne, you want to celebrate together, so it’s nice to do it and hopefully we’ll do it a few more times.” – Paul Goldschmidt, on the postgame celebration.

NOTED

–Playoff tickets will go on sale Monday at 9 a.m.

UP NEXT 

The Diamondbacks will begin their final home series of the regular season on Monday, when they host the San Francisco Giants. First pitch is set for 6:40, with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Zack Godley (8-8, 3.20) will take the mound for Arizona, looking for his third win of the month. He’s 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his last four starts overall and 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in his last five home starts.

This will be Godley’s second career start — and fourth appearance — against San Francisco. He picked up a 2-1 victory over the Giants back on Sept. 9, 2015, allowing one run over five innings.

San Francisco will counter with Johnny Cueto (7-8, 4.49). The 31-year old righty has struggled a little this season after piling up 49 wins from 2014-2016. He has won just once since June 30, though he missed most of July and all of August due to injury.

Cueto picked up a no-decision in his most recent start, holding the Rockies to two earned runs over 6.2 innings in a 4-3 win on Sept. 19. He’s been especially tough on the D-backs in the past, going 10-3 with a 3.40 ERA in 14 career starts against the Arizona.

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Sedona Red Recap: Martinez strikes again as D-backs clinch playoffs