Grit Index: Goldschmidt provides fireworks in D-backs’ walk-off win
The last time Patrick Corbin faced New York Mets’ right-hander Jeremy Hefner, on July 2, the game ended in a 9-1 loss, extending the Arizona Diamondbacks’ losing streak to five.
That loss went down as the 24th straight game in which a Diamondbacks starting pitcher failed to earn a win. Despite their loose hold on the NL West lead then, that night at Citi Field was one of the lowlights of the season for the Diamondbacks, whose best and only winning starting pitcher couldn’t even snap the team’s losing streak — and the rotation’s winless streak — against a losing team.
But round two of Corbin-Hefner had a different result, with All-Star Paul Goldschmidt and the Diamondbacks walking off winners against the Mets, 5-4, for their third consecutive win.
Though walking three Mets batters, and hitting two, the Diamondbacks’ 23-year-old left-hander turned in a quality start, allowing just two runs on four hits over six innings pitched. Corbin also aided his own cause, doubling off the center field wall with two outs in the 5th and being driven in by Adam Eaton in the following at-bat, who also doubled. Martin Prado, who started the game in left field and later moved to third base, extended the two-out rally with a double of his own — pulling the ball to left field, something manager Kirk Gibson said the utility man was working on over the last month. The RBI was Prado’s 18th RBI of the last month.
Corbin would exit the game in line for the win, the Diamondbacks taking a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. That lead, however, which came on a two-RBI double by catcher Wil Nieves, would only last an inning.
“He battled and it’s a shame he didn’t get the win,” Gibson said of Corbin’s performance following the game, adding that the pitcher struggled with location in the outing.
Heath Bell, who entered play Friday having compiled 11 consecutive scoreless outings, with 15 strikeouts and no walks in that span — stranding all 12 of the runners he inherited — gave up a pair of runs, after allowing three straight hits to the Mets’ Daniel Murphy, Marlon Byrd and Josh Satin.
Adam Eaton, who went 2-for-4 with a run in the game, struck out to end the bottom of the 8th, prompting Gibson to bring in his closer, Brad Ziegler, in the Mets’ 9th in hopes of maintaining the 4-4 tie. He did, getting a couple of outs on rare line drives, before striking out center fielder Juan Lagares to send things to the bottom of the 9th.
Right-hander Scott Atchison was on the mound for the Mets the following inning, immediately inducing a comeback groundball off the bat of two-hole hitter Prado to start things off. Atchison then stepped off the mound, removed his cap and wiped his brow in preparation for the Diamondbacks’ next batter, Goldschmidt — the National League RBI leader who was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a pair of walks in the game, hitting in just 8 of his last 46 at-bats.
Atchison got a strike call on his first pitch to Goldschmidt, an 87-mph slider. The Diamondbacks’ first baseman took the next pitch, as well, a curveball which was called a ball. The studious hitter had seen enough.
Goldschmidt lined the proceeding 88-mph slider just over the right-centerfield wall to the roar of a large remnant of the 25,187 who were in attendance at Chase Field — a teaser for the postgame Friday night fireworks show.
“He got on a roll early in the year,” said Gibson of Goldschmidt’s clutch hitting, “and, you know, he’s the guy you want to have up there. He’s at-bats earlier didn’t work out the way he wanted them to, but that one did.”
Encoring on Saturday, Goldschmidt’s bobblehead day, will be a tall task.
The home run was No. 27 on the year for the brawny first baseman; the RBI, his 91st.
The Diamondbacks win Friday was their 23rd of the season on their last at-bat, a mark that leads the majors. It was also their 24th one-run win, which also leads the league, giving them their first three-game win streak since July 11-13.
Since Patrick Corbin-Jeremy Hefner, round one, on July 2, shortstop Didi Gregorius is just 11-for-62 (.177) with three extra-base hits.
Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-5, 4.94 ERA) will make his second start since a stint on the DL that lasted more than two months. He’ll oppose rookie righty Zack Wheeler (4-2, 3.91 ERA) in an attempt to give his team a 10-1 record against the Mets in their last 11 matchups at Chase Field. McCarthy hit a wall after 4.1 innings in his first start at Fenway Park, allowing two runs on five hits.