Diamondbacks clinch key series over Cubs with extra-inning win

Sep 9, 2023, 2:57 PM | Updated: 3:19 pm

Merrill Kelly...

Starting pitcher Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 09, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks earned a 3-2 victory in 10 innings against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday to clinch the series win at Wrigley Field.

Arizona (75-68) has won the first three contests of the four-game set with a chance to sweep the Cubs (76-67) on Sunday. Chicago’s lead over the D-backs for the second National League Wild Card spot was cut to one game.

The D-backs took their first lead of Saturday’s ballgame in the 10th inning, as Gabriel Moreno scored on a wild pitch by Daniel Palencia. Tommy Pham drilled a RBI single to left field on a 3-2 count to add insurance, 3-1.

Paul Sewald entered for the save and executed with stellar defensive plays by shortstop Jordan Lawlar and left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. behind him — Lawlar stayed in the game after getting hit in the hand by a pitch. Cody Bellinger singled in the ghost runner, but the game ended on a pop-up by Dansby Swanson.

Arizona improved to 4-4 in extra innings and 19-19 in one-run games this year.

Starter Merrill Kelly gave the D-backs 5.2 innings with one run allowed, while Cubs ace Justin Steele tossed seven frames with one earned run.

The two starters gave up a combined 10 hits and struck out 12 batters. Steele’s ERA dropped to 2.49, best among qualified starting pitchers in MLB.

Kelly wasn’t quite as sharp as he was Monday in seven one-run innings against the Colorado Rockies. He threw 104 pitches in Chicago but only 64 strikes with five walks, which tied a season high.

He was effective in limiting damage with runners on base, as Chicago was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position against him. Kelly has gone at least five innings in 25 of 26 starts this season.

The only run he surrendered came on an infield pop up in the third inning. Bellinger hit a ball near second base with a runner on first, and it dropped between second baseman Ketel Marte and Lawlar. Nico Hoerner scored from first as he never stopped running.

Arizona tied the game in the fifth inning after Corbin Carroll led off with a single, stole second and reached third on a base hit by Emmanuel Rivera. Moreno grounded out, but Carroll scored on the play.

Both teams had opportunities with runners on base in the ninth inning.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with two outs for Moreno, but he chopped out to shortstop against reliever Adbert Alzolay.

Cubs third baseman Nick Madrigal doubled with two outs, but reliever Kevin Ginkel forced a groundout to end the inning. Gurriel threw out Cubs catcher Yan Gomes attempting to stretch a double with one out.

The D-backs’ bullpen threw 4.1 innings without an earned run. Ryan Thompson, Andrew Saalfrank, Ginkel and Sewald helped the unit continue its strong stretch. Arizona’s bullpen allowed one earned run in 14.2 innings over its previous three games.

Ketel Marte

Marte fouled the first pitch of the ballgame off his right knee and went down. He stayed in the game after jogging it off and meeting with the athletic trainer, and he singled off Steele during the same at-bat.

Geraldo Perdomo replaced Marte in the seventh inning defensively. The D-backs announced Marte left with right knee soreness.

Diamondbacks-Cubs finale

The four-game set concludes Sunday at 11:20 a.m.

Rookie Brandon Pfaadt will pitch against Cubs veteran Kyle Hendricks.

Catch the game on ESPN 620 AM. 

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