D-backs score 14 unanswered runs to beat White Sox, pick up game on Cubs
Sep 26, 2023, 7:42 PM | Updated: 9:32 pm
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
The Arizona Diamondbacks erased a 4-1 deficit with 14 unanswered runs to beat the Chicago White Sox 15-4 on the road in Tuesday’s series opener.
The Chicago Cubs (82-75), meanwhile, saw a 6-0 lead evaporate in a 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The D-backs (83-74) climbed back into sole possession of the second National League Wild Card spot with the Cubs one game back and the Miami Marlins 1.5 behind. Miami’s (81-75) game against the New York Mets on Tuesday was postponed to a doubleheader on Wednesday.
D-backs dominate White Sox
The Diamondbacks produced six runs in the fifth inning, jumping ahead 9-4. Christian Walker hit a triple with the bases loaded to take the lead on a career night for the veteran first baseman. Walker also delivered two home runs and picked up a career-high six RBIs.
Ketel Marte blasted his 25th home run of the season 453 feet to center field. Marte, Walker, Alek Thomas, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Geraldo Perdomo each had multi-hit nights.
Tuesday was the second time this year Arizona has scored 15 runs in a game.
Rookie right-hander Ryne Nelson stepped up to the occasion out of the bullpen after starter Zach Davies allowed four runs in three innings.
Nelson, who had not pitched since Sept. 17, threw 4.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts on 62 pitches. He did not give up a hit over his first four innings and produced 12 whiffs on 33 swings (36%). He was locked in and saved much of the bullpen.
The decision to use him in a relief role opens up Thursday’s game (Brandon Pfaadt is probable for Wednesday) to a potential bullpen day.
Davies was lit up early, as White Sox designated hitter Eloy Jimenez blasted a three-run shot in the bottom of the first and drove in his second runner with a single to left in the second inning.
The D-backs rebounded after losing two of three games to the New York Yankees, and their magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to four. If Arizona finishes 4-1 and the Cubs and Marlins win out, the Diamondbacks and Marlins would make the postseason.
“We’re not dwelling on other games. We’re not expecting other teams to get us in,” Walker said. “But also, when we see the scores change and the lead change in games like that, we’re aware of it and we’re rooting for the teams that we need to win, for sure.”
Christian Walker has ELEVEN total bases through 6 innings. 😳 pic.twitter.com/gJeiC05nyx
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 27, 2023
Cubs falter vs. Braves
The Cubs led Atlanta from the second inning until there were two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
NL MVP candidate Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two-run shot in the seventh to cut the deficit to 6-5. In the eighth, the Braves had runners on second and third with two outs when catcher Sean Murphy hit a fly ball to right-center field.
Right fielder Seiya Suzuki missed the ball, allowing both runners to score on an error.
Seiya Suzuki drops it and Atlanta takes the lead 🤯 pic.twitter.com/NSb84LLKnX
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) September 27, 2023
“I was actually seeing it pretty well until the very last second,” Suzuki said through a translator. “I honestly thought it went into my glove, so it was just that split second where it just blurred my vision.”
The Cubs also lost a fourth straight start by ace Justin Steele.
Reds stay in the fight
The Cincinnati Reds (81-77) gained a game on the Cubs with an 11-7 win over the Cleveland Guardians. They are 1.5 games back of Chicago for the final spot with the tiebreaker in hand.
Elly De La Cruz homered twice, and the Reds pulled away late in a back-and-forth game.
Phillies, Brewers clinch
The Philadelphia Phillies clinched the top wild card spot with a walk-off win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. They will host the second wild card team in a three-game series to open the postseason starting next Tuesday.
The Milwaukee Brewers clinched the NL Central after the Cubs lost, so they will face the final wild card team in the playoffs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.