Diamondbacks’ Pavin Smith: ‘It means a lot’ to come through in Game 3 vs. Phillies
Oct 20, 2023, 2:21 PM
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have three postseason walk-off hits, and all three game-winning runs came off the bench. In the 2001 NLDS, Tony Womack drove home pinch runner Danny Bautista. Luis Gonzalez scored pinch hitter Jay Bell to win the 2001 World Series.
On Thursday at Chase Field, with the Phillies looking to go up 3-0 in the NLCS, Ketel Marte singled to center with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Pavin Smith, who entered as a pinch hitter, touched home plate to end the game.
Smith delivered Arizona’s two hits with runners in scoring position before Marte’s walk-off after receiving one plate appearance this postseason, a walk, entering Thursday.
“It means a lot,” Smith said. “I’ve been rooting for this team on the bench. I’ve been having a routine. I’ve been visualizing those ABs for a while, and I was able to come through.”
Smith outlined his plan to stay ready, which involved teammate Jace Peterson, a veteran who the D-backs picked Smith over for the NLCS roster.
“Me and Jace would go in the top of the fifth inning every time and hit with one of the hitting coaches, kind of go over to the bullpen,” Smith said. “Just every inning, being ready when called upon. … (Peterson) has been here before and is just a guy you can lean on and talk things through. … We have a lot of veterans on this team who have given us a helping hand.”
Smith spent most of September in Triple-A, watching Arizona’s push to clinch a playoff spot when the Reno Aces were not playing, rooting for his teammates from afar. The D-backs added him to the postseason roster ahead of the wild card round for his “competitive at-bat.”
He was Arizona’s 2017 first-round pick but has struggled to maintain a role in the majors. He slashed .188/.317/.325 this season for Arizona and spent most of the year in Triple-A Reno.
Smith came in with a runner on second and no outs in a tie ballgame during the seventh inning of Game 3, and he floated a second to right. He singled again with a runner on second in the bottom of the ninth with the score still even.
Neither knock was hit particularly hard nor drove in a run, but both created prime scoring opportunities. The D-backs didn’t execute in the seventh, but Marte got the job done in the ninth. Smith said his goal was just to move the runner over to third each time.
“Knowing that this could be an opportunity for me, just (focused on) doing anything I can to help the team,” Smith said.
Pavin Smith shares his vantage point of Ketel Marte’s walkoff: pic.twitter.com/2OycTkeow1
— Alex Weiner (@alexjweiner) October 20, 2023
Gurriel was cut down at the plate on a 6-2 putout, but a Geraldo Perdomo walk loaded the bases. Standing on third base, Smith was ready to run on anything hit on the ground.
Marte lined a high fastball into center, and Smith looked for a moment to make sure the ball was getting down. He rose his arms as he crossed home plate, turning to book it to center field where Marte was running from his chasing teammates.