Grit Index: Eaton provides late-inning heroics again, D-backs win in 16
In a week that featured late-inning heroics left and right, it’s fitting the Arizona Diamondbacks found yet another way to close out the seven-day span in style.
After managing just three hits off Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kris Johnson, who was making his MLB debut, through his first five innings of work, Arizona finally broke a two-all tie with a two-run double by Adam Eaton in the top of the 16th.
Eaton, who was facing Johnson for the third time in the contest, laced a fastball on the outside corner into center field just under the glove of a diving Andrew McCutchen, and the D-backs went on to outlast the Pirates 4-2 in their second 16-inning affair of the season.
For Eaton, it was his second game-winning hit in his last six games.
With the win, the D-backs managed to gain a game in the National League West race. They trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 7.5 games.
The D-backs bullpen was once again in fine form after the ninth inning Sunday afternoon. Six scoreless innings by Heath Bell, Eury De La Rosa, Josh Collmenter, Brad Ziegler and J.J. Putz pushed the unit’s shutout streak to 14 innings in extras.
After allowing a run on two hits in the first inning, Wade Miley settled down to throw one of his better road outings of the season.
In eight innings of work, the D-backs left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits, while tying a season-high with eight strikeouts.
Miley has recorded quality starts in seven of his last nine appearances
In addition to nailing Starling Marte at third base to end the bottom of the eighth inning, Tuffy Gosewisch has hit safely in each of his first four starts.
A day removed from clubbing his NL-leading 30th home run of the season, Paul Goldschmidt had a far less productive day at the plate in the team’s series finale against the Pirates.
With a tie score and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning, Pittsburgh start Charlie Morton struck out Goldschmidt to end the inning.
On the day, the All-Star went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts and two walks.
-With the win, Arizona improved to 13-5 in extra-inning games.
-Aaron Hill recorded his 10th multi-hit game in the month of August.
-Eaton’s set a new career high with four hits.
-Didi Gregorius made a small adjustment with his bat placement in between the D-backs’ series with the Orioles and Pirates and it seems to have paid off in the short-term. Gregorius has five hits in his last two games.
-In his last seven head-to-head matchups against left-handed batters, reliever Joe Thatcher has allowed three hits, three earned runs and a walk.
-Sunday marked the ninth time this season that Arizona went to extra innings on getaway day.
-The D-backs have played in an MLB-leading 10 games that have gone at least 12 innings in 2013.
-Until Sunday, the Pirates hadn’t lost back-to-back games at PNC Park since July 8-9.
The D-backs begin a pivotal four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds — the team they’re chasing in the National League Wild Card race — Monday night at Great American Ballpark. Right-hander Randall Delgado (4-3, 3.52 ERA) takes the mound for Arizona. He’ll be opposed by Bronson Arroyo (11-9, 3.35 ERA), who last faced the D-backs on Aug. 27, 2012. First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. MST and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.