D-backs beat Dodgers behind Eduardo Escobar’s walk-off home run
PHOENIX – It was a back-and-forth affair on Tuesday, but the D-backs were able to utilize Matt Koch and an Eduardo Escobar walk-off home run to overcome Brad Boxberger’s eighth blown save of the season, and win a wild one against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3.
Koch came into the game with a 3.38 ERA and 10 strikeouts in his previous five starts, and he pitched well in his 4.1 innings of work. He kicked off the game with a quick first inning and limited the damage on the scoreboard to a solo home run by Cody Bellinger in the second inning.
Manager Torey Lovullo intended on using a bullpen committee start in this one, which meant a lengthy outing wasn’t in the cards for Koch. He threw 68 pitches, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out two.
From there, Lovullo went with Jimmie Sherfy, Silvino Bracho, Brad Ziegler and Yoan Lopez to get to another Brad Boxberger save opportunity.
“I thought he was really effective for the early innings,” said Lovullo on Koch’s performance. “Things had gotten to the point where he’s facing the lineup for the third time, and it was time to turn it over. But for those 70 pitches, he was fantastic at keeping guys off balance and pounding the zone.”
After yet another slow start out of the blocks offensively, the D-backs finally got something cooking in the sixth inning. A two-out single by Jon Jay and a walk by Ketel Marte paved the way for a two-RBI double by David Peralta that put Arizona up 2-1.
The Dodgers answered immediately in the top of the seventh with a leadoff triple off Bracho by Yasmani Grandal, who subsequently scored on a Kiké Hernandez RBI single. Grandal went 3-for-3 with a triple.
Momentum would swing back in Arizona’s favor in the bottom of the seventh as the D-backs loaded the bases for Ildemaro Vargas, who came through with an RBI-single that scored A.J. Pollock and put Arizona back on top.
Lovullo went to Boxberger for the save in the top of the ninth, but his closer struggled once again. Boxberger allowed Hernandez to reach on a single, which he quickly turned into a triple with a steal and a throwing error by catcher Chris Stewart that went into the outfield.
Chris Taylor was able to capitalize with an RBI ground-rule double that scored Hernandez. Boxberger got out of the inning, but not before the Dodgers tied the game, 3-3.
However, instead of the heartbreak that could have ensued, Escobar came to the plate to lead off the top of the ninth and sent a solo blast off a Kenta Maeda 3-2 pitch to right field for the D-backs’ walk-off victory.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 26, 2018
–Matt Koch continues to be impressive. In his last five games at Chase Field, Koch is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings of work.
–Despite having a bad outing during his MLB debut, Yoan Lopez also continues to thrive, lowering his ERA to 3.85 this season. This is his seventh consecutive appearance without allowing a run, and he made batters look absolutely silly in his inning of work, aside from a double by Manny Machado.
–This is only the 22nd time this season the D-backs have won a game where their opponent scored first.
–Boxberger has become completely unreliable in the second half of the season as a closer. Seven of his eight blown saves have happened since June 6. He has a 5.85 ERA in 24 appearances since that date.
–The D-backs could have really piled on in the bottom of the seventh, but they were once again conservative in their base running which led to only one run scoring in the inning.
–Paul Goldschmidt’s struggles continue, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He is now hitting .142 in his last nine games with zero RBI.
STAT OF THE GAME
5 – Tuesday night’s victory was the D-backs’ fifth walk-off win of the season.
HE SAID IT
“It’s good to come out on the other side of a one-run game. I was really proud of these guys through the course of the entire night, and it’s always the best way to win a game with a walk-off home run. It just adds energy to the victory, and these guys are in there still celebrating and having a great time. And they deserve that.” –Torey Lovullo
–First baseman Christian Walker was diagnosed with a sinus fracture after being hit by a pitch on Monday and will have surgery to have a plate put in to fix the damage.
–The D-backs have had a record of .500 or better for 320 consecutive days.
–On Monday, the BBWAA handed out their year-end awards for the D-backs, recognizing Paul Goldschmidt as Most Valuable Player, Patrick Corbin as Most Valuable Pitcher and Yoshihisa Hirano as Rookie of the Year. Daniel Descalso received the Good Guy Award.
–Temperature at first pitch was 95 degrees with an open roof and 25,774 in attendance.
D-backs ace Zack Greinke will face off against his former team in the series finale on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Ross Stripling will start for the Dodgers.
Greinke is 14-11 with a 3.21 ERA in 32 starts this season. In his 16 starts at Chase Field in 2018, Greinke is 6-4 with a 2.52 ERA and an opponent batting average of .201.