D-backs overcome 6-run deficit late to walk off Padres in bizarre fashion

Jun 28, 2022, 11:42 PM
Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his walk-off RBI fielder's choice with ...
Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his walk-off RBI fielder's choice with Josh Rojas #10 and Pavin Smith #26 and a 7-6 win over the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on June 28, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks (34-41) rallied late to walk off the San Diego Padres 7-6 in bizarre fashion at Chase Field on Tuesday night.

With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, D-backs first baseman Christian Walker hit a walk-off fielder’s choice to Padres (45-31) first baseman Eric Hosmer — who was unable to get the inning-ending force out at second base — that scored Josh Rojas thanks to his aggressive baserunning to complete a six-run comeback win.

In fact, the Diamondbacks scored all seven of their runs in the final three innings of the ballgame, with the last three runs crossing home plate without registering a hit (two hit-by-pitches and a fielder’s choice).

“Great team win. You fall down 6-0, you make a couple mistakes along the way that kind of compound things and you’re in a situation where you find yourself in a real uphill battle,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “This team has a good heartbeat. They’ve shown their ability to come back and do something like this. … Today was a perfect example of what this team is capable of doing.”

The Diamondbacks’ offense woke up in the seventh inning after only mustering three baserunners on one hit through the first six frames. That’s largely due to Padres starting pitcher Sean Manaea, who finished the night having allowed three runs on three hits and three walks while striking out seven across 6+ innings pitched over 112 pitches (72 strikes).

After a Ketel Marte single and Walker walk, back-to-back doubles by rookie Buddy Kennedy and Carson Kelly cut the D-backs’ deficit in half at 6-3.

And after Daulton Varsho moved Kelly over to third with a productive groundout to the right side, rookie Alek Thomas capped off Arizona’s four-run seventh inning with an RBI groundout to second base. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no outs in the following frame and managed to tie the game without putting the ball in play after both Kennedy and Kelly were hit by a pitch in back-to-back at-bats.

“To play a good team like that and kind of feel the momentum shifting, everybody wants to be the hero and hit a three-run homer or something like that,” Walker said postgame. “But to kind of let the momentum keep going, keep the ball rolling — obviously you’re not trying to get hit by pitches in those situations — but to have guys on base and be in that opportunity that when we get hit by a pitch, it means something. So I love to see that out of the team.”

D-backs starting pitcher Zac Gallen was able to put up four goose eggs in his five innings pitched, but his fifth and final frame saw the Padres score all six of their runs. Gallen was cruising through the first four innings, allowing only two baserunners and striking out one on 59 pitches (39 strikes).

But the fifth inning saw San Diego come out with four straight hits — including a two-run home run by Nomar Mazara — which was then followed up by a Ha-Seong Kim double and an RBI groundout to first base by Trent Grisham. Two walks later, Jorge Alfaro cleared the bases with a three-run double to cap off the Padres’ six-run inning.

Gallen finished the night having allowed six runs (all earned) on seven hits (one home run) and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over 94 pitches (59 strikes) en route to a no decision.

Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith came on in relief and tossed three shutout innings while striking out four batters. And despite walking the leadoff batter and allowing him to advance to third on two wild pitches, closer Mark Melancon was able to strike out two Padres en route to a scoreless ninth frame and picked up his third win of the season (3-6, 5.47 ERA).

“Things stabilized, Caleb Smith came in a did an unbelievable job for three innings and let us catch our breath a little bit and play a little bit of catchup and when he left the game we were tied,” Lovullo said. “Without his outing, we would have had no opportunity to do what we did.”


The D-backs host the Padres in the two-game series finale at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Arizona LHP Madison Bumgarner (3-7, 3.75 ERA) is scheduled to start against San Diego RHP Mike Clevinger (1-0, 3.52 ERA).

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