Grit Index: Chavez gives D-backs 12th walk-off of season

Sep 1, 2013, 4:47 AM | Updated: 6:33 am

In his black, purple and teal jersey, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill was a throwback of himself on Throwback Night Saturday at Chase Field. At least for the first six innings.

The right-hander managed to scatter seven San Francisco Giants hits before the seventh inning, when the wheels came off.

“He still threw good,” manager Kirk Gibson said after the game. “I think he ran out of gas a little there. We saw a lot more pitches in the dirt in that last inning than we did during the rest of the game.”

The pitcher, himself, added to the explanation.

“I was probably trying to do a little bit too much there at the end,” he said following the game.

Cahill, indeed, fell apart in his final inning of work, allowing a leadoff home run to Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco. One out later, the newly-activated Angel Pagan stung the pitcher with a sharply-hit comebacker, which resulted in an infield single. Pagan later advanced to third on a stolen base and wild pitch and then eventually scored on a Marco Scutaro triple. Scutaro would be the last batter Cahill faced.

Left-hander Eury De La Rosa entered the game in his relief, striking out a looking Brandon Belt with a beautiful repertoire of pitches, including an 89-mph sinking fastball to end the at-bat.

“In that situation right there, he was the guy we were going to go to, and he did a hell of a job against Belt,” Gibson said.

With Scutaro still on third, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson made a curious call to the bullpen as Buster Posey walked up to the plate. Lifting De La Rosa, Gibson opted instead to bring in right-hander Josh Collmenter to face the reigning league MVP, despite Posey’s lopsided splits against the tomahawk-throwing pitcher. In seven previous career at-bats against Collmenter, the Giants catcher had five hits, two home runs, a double and six RBI.

After the at-bat, Posey had six hits and seven RBI versus Collmenter, lining an 0-2 single to rightfield to plate Scutaro.

Still, Gibson defended his decision in his postgame media session, saying, “He was the best guy for the job,” and adding that 15 of the reliever’s first 16 pitches were strikes.

Though allowing a single to Hunter Pence in the following at-bat, Collmenter ultimately escaped the inning not allowing a run of his own, with Scutaro’s score being charged to Cahill.

Prior to the seventh inning stretch, the Diamondbacks had tallied nine hits, including three consecutive off of Giants’ starter Ryan Vogelsong in the fourth. All three — a double from the hot-hitting Martin Prado, a single from Aaron Hill and another by Miguel Montero — eventually resulted in runs.

Such was the lead the Diamondbacks took into the perilous seventh inning.

In their own half of the inning, however, the team conjured something of a rally, when Goldschmidt was pitched around for a walk and Prado singled him over to second, collecting his third hit of the game. But Hill ended the inning on a line drive to shallow centerfield, which was snagged by a clumsily-diving Pagan.

The Diamondbacks bullpen avoided scathe with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth coming on the efforts of Collmenter, who struck out two of three in his second frame of work, and Brad Ziegler.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy preferred Sandy Rosario to toe the rubber in the ninth inning, the game in a 3-3 tie. Willie Bloomquist knocked his third base hit of the game, squeezing a hard grounder past the outstretched Pablo Sandoval and into the leftfield grass. Two-hole hitter Adam Eaton advanced Bloomquist to second with a model sacrifice bunt, resulting in a 3-4 putout, in the following at-bat.

The NL RBI leader strode to the plate next, the letters G-O-L-D-S-C-H-M-I-D-T strewn across his back, but he was allowed no drama — as Rosario and Posey avoided the bat of the brawny first baseman, intentionally walking him.

“You have to walk him there,” the Diamondbacks’ next hitter, Eric Chavez, said following the game. “He’s had some big hits late in innings against them.”

So, with Bloomquist still standing on second and Goldschmidt now on first, Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti paid Rosario a visit to discuss how to approach the Diamondbacks’ next hitter, Chavez, the cleanup man who was 0-for-4 on the night.

All for naught.

Chavez smacked Rosario’s first offering to the left-centerfield gap, easily scoring Bloomquist, who rode a slow jog around the third base bag and to home plate, where he’d join his teammates in a chase after the walk-off hero.

The Good:

All of hitters 1-8 in the Diamondbacks’ batting order managed a hit, with the exception of Paul Goldschmidt, who walked three times in the game. Eric Chavez was hitless in four at-bats before his walk-off RBI single in the ninth inning.

The Bad:

Trevor Cahill’s solid outing came to an unfortunate screeching halt in the seventh inning, losing him the chance at a win in the three-run frame.

He Said It:

“Don’t give up. We aren’t giving up.” Eric Chavez, on the field following the Diamondbacks’ walk-off win, addressing the large remnant of the 36,091 fans who stayed the duration of Saturday’s game

Up Next:

In the rubber match and series finale, Diamondbacks’ lefty phenom Patrick Corbin (13-4, 2.79 ERA) will oppose former Arizona right-hander Yusmeiro Petit (1-0, 3.18 ERA). Corbin’s spectacular 2013 is beginning to dim, as the 23-year-old went 1-2 with a 5.13 ERA in the month of August, lasting just 5.1 innings while allowing eight earned runs in his last start. Petit, who pitched for the Diamondbacks from 2007-09, will be making his second start of the season — and just his third of the last two seasons — following a six-inning, two-run performance back on August 27 for the Giants. Petit has a 5.99 ERA and a 4-7 record in 25 career appearances (15 starts) at Chase Field.

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Grit Index: Chavez gives D-backs 12th walk-off of season