Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker barehands grounder coming in hot off 1st-base bag

Oct 28, 2023, 7:25 PM | Updated: 11:04 pm

Christian Walker might be lacking in the offensive category throughout this 2023 postseason run, but in Game 2 of the World Series, he brought Gold Glove-type work at first base with a key highlight-reel out.

In the bottom of the fifth inning of a 9-1 Game 2 win for the D-backs at Globe Life Field on Saturday, Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim hit a hard grounder toward first base, and Walker lined it up to be fielded closer to foul territory.

But the ball ended up hitting the first base bag, then redirected back toward the field of play — and not the left glove side of Walker.

No worries — Walker just picked the ball now heading to his right with his bare right hand and flung it to pitcher Merrill Kelly for the out at first.

It followed a solo home run by designated hitter Mitch Garver that pulled the Rangers to within 2-1. For Walker, it was a big moment for a player who had 12 walks through 13 playoff games so far but was batting .163 as pitchers have tiptoed around throwing him strikes.

Believers of momentum might say the single play mattered a lot to keep Texas from finding a little life after Garver’s dinger.

Kelly only got stronger from there. In the next inning, he struck out the side and three of Texas’ best hitters in Marcus Semien, Corey Seager and Evan Carter.

The Diamondbacks added two more runs for a 4-1 lead in the seventh, and Kelly cruised through the seventh to reach nine strikeouts by the end of that frame.

Arizona would combine for seven runs in the final three innings to even the series at 1-1 apiece.

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