Pham, Diamondbacks pour on the hits in World Series win over Rangers
Oct 28, 2023, 11:21 PM | Updated: 11:44 pm
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Arizona Diamondbacks’ 16 hits in Game 2 of the World Series at the Texas Rangers on Saturday were more than any team in postseason play since 2021.
Ten D-backs recorded a knock in the 9-1 win to even the series, 1-1. The victory was spearheaded by a seven-inning gem from Merrill Kelly and capped by a wave of offense in the later innings to put it away.
Tommy Pham had four hits for the second time this postseason, Gabriel Moreno homered for the game’s first run and Ketel Marte extended his postseason hitting streak to a record 18 games. Moreno’s home run was the only long ball of the game, as 12 of Arizona’s hits were singles.
“We did it in a way that is very reflective of the group that we are, it wasn’t with the long ball, it was working good at-bats, driving the ball all over the field, taking advantage of mistakes and just consistently putting pressure on opposing pitchers,” third baseman Evan Longoria said.
“You can feel the positivity on our side building when we get our guys who can run on base, you can feel that amplifies the pressure on the pitcher to make pitches and to be quick to the plate and to not have to think about other things instead of just being able to focus on making their pitch.”
— MLB (@MLB) October 29, 2023
Diamondbacks get to Jordan Montgomery
It took a while to break the dam, but the D-backs created chances with runners in scoring position during the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The D-backs put 25 balls in play without a single strike out against Rangers southpaw starter Jordan Montgomery through six-plus innings.
Texas manager Bruce Bochy left his starter in to face left-handed bat Alek Thomas in the seventh, and Thomas laced a double for his second hit. The D-backs did not start Thomas against lefties in the NLCS against the Phillies, but manager Torey Lovullo liked Thomas’ previous at-bats against Montgomery.
Longoria dug in and hit a sharp grounder past third baseman Josh Jung for an RBI single to end Montgomery’s night — Arizona put up nine runs in 10.2 innings against Texas starting pitching in two games.
Jung had to account for a sacrifice bunt, as Longoria laid one down for the first time since 2014 in the third inning. First baseman Christian Walker called that an example of winning the inch. That was a significant insurance run, as Kelly was pitching with a tight lead or tied game all night.
The Diamondbacks only stole one base on Saturday — and had a tough base running moment with Pham getting picked off second in the sixth inning — but they applied pressure by continuing to put the ball in play, including bunts. They sacrifice bunted three times. It looked like a Diamondbacks win from May.
And it worked. Geraldo Perdomo bunted Longoria over to second, and Carroll singled to score the run and make it a 4-1 ballgame. More breathing room for Kelly, and he completed a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end his masterpiece with one earned run.
Kevin Ginkel was warming up in the D-backs’ bullpen after throwing 28 pitches in Game 1 — a 6-5 walk-off loss in 11 innings — but the D-backs were able to save him and closer Paul Sewald for Game 3.
Arizona had the bases loaded after Pham’s fourth single, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s first sac bunt of the season and a couple walks.
Ketel Marte extends streak
Marte was 0-for-4 at that point, but he timed up a low changeup to punch it up the middle for two runs. His streak broke a tie with Manny Ramírez, Derek Jeter and Hank Bauer.
“I feel good, it’s another accomplishment, we’re gonna continue to strike and continue to break records,” Marte said, according to translator Alex Arpiza. “I don’t focus on that (during the game), what I’m focused on is winning and just getting on base.”
— MLB (@MLB) October 29, 2023
Corbin Carroll followed with his second knock — his fifth multi-hit game of the postseason — and Arizona was able to get by with Andrew Saalfrank and Luis Frias in the final innings.
Another noteworthy moment in the eighth inning was Thomas struck out, the first Diamondbacks K of the ballgame after getting punched out 14 times in Game 1.
The Diamondbacks in Game 1 peaked early with five runs through five innings, but they failed to touch Texas’ bullpen with few hits and the piling strikeouts.
“We just flushed out yesterday … the energy in the clubhouse was good and together we just rallied,” Thomas said. “Put together good (at-bats).”
Tommy Pham’s 4-hit night
Pham became the sixth plater ever with multiple four-hit games during a single postseason. He joined the likes of Albert Pujols, George Brett and Robin Yount.
“Montgomery was throwing a really good sinker and change-up today, and I knew after my first at-bat, my approach wasn’t going to work against him today,” Pham said. “So I kind of had to go to Plan B and work the right side to stay on that heavy sinker and that change-up. And it worked.”
You do you, Pham 👏
4 for 4 on the night!
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/12xAtGpGkt
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 29, 2023
Pham hit two doubles the opposite way.
The 35-year-old has been to the postseason with four different clubs. He thought the New York Mets were a championship contender on paper entering 2023, but their fall from the race led to his trade to the D-backs.
This is his first time in the Fall Classic, a moment he’s yearned for.
“I don’t think we play this game without the intentions of winning a World Series, especially when you have a team that you feel like you have a special group that could compete for a World Series,” Pham said.
The D-backs had not had many wins like Saturday this postseason. Seven of their first nine wins were by three runs or fewer. They had scored more than five runs in one of 10 games since the 11-2 beatdown of the Dodgers to start the NLDS.
Saturday was a game where the entire lineup had a say in the win, and the score ballooned because of it.