ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Evan Longoria dive sets up Diamondbacks’ double-play to strand Brewers

Oct 3, 2023, 6:50 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2023, 5:30 am

Evan Longoria’s still got it.

The elder statesman of the Arizona Diamondbacks saved his team in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card matchup against the Milwaukee Brewers with a double-play to end a crucial fifth inning. The bottom half of the fifth on Tuesday in Milwaukee began with three singles by the Brewers, loading the bases for D-backs pitcher Ryne Nelson with no outs.

A strikeout and pitching change later, Longoria made the defensive play of the game.

The 37-year-old third baseman made a diving snag of a liner by Tyrone Taylor, then caught the Milwaukee Brewers’ Willy Adames far off second base for the third out.

It was paramount in the eventual 6-3 win on Wednesday for Arizona, giving the team a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.

The play, which had an expected batting average of  .770, per Baseball Savant, helped the D-backs exit to the sixth inning still leading 4-3, and it left Taylor putting his hands on his helmet in disbelief that the ball didn’t get past the infield.

Longoria’s game-changing play came as Arizona rolled through its bullpen in Game 1 of the wild card series. Starter Brandon Pfaadt went 2.2 frames, allowing seven hits and three earned runs before being pulled.

“I kind of just jumped and threw my glove up,” Longoria said.

Nelson, who followed Joe Mantiply and Miguel Castro out of the bullpen, lasted just 0.1 frames on Tuesday. He was stretched out and used as a starter until his final two regular-season appearances.

Ryan Thompson replaced him and induced Taylor’s double-play on the at-bat’s sixth pitch, setting up the oldest member of the roster to make one of the biggest plays of the game.

Longoria turns 38 on Saturday.

An inning later in the sixth, Longoria bobbled an infield single but again caught a runner — this time Christian Yelich — far off second base. Longoria connected with second baseman Ketel Marte to record the out, which needed a replay review to overturn a safe call initially.

Longoria was the initiator of a second double-play in the seventh inning, helping reliever Kevin Ginkel cruise through his 2.0 frames unscathed.

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