ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks’ Tommy Pham sacrifices chance at record to get Jace Peterson World Series AB

Oct 29, 2023, 6:10 PM

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks designated hitter Tommy Pham had a chance to earn the first 5-for-5 World Series game in MLB history, but he turned it down in what manager Torey Lovullo called a “true team moment.”

In Game 2 of the Fall Classic on Saturday at the Texas Rangers, Pham went up to infielder Jace Peterson — a 33-year-old veteran — and told him to get ready.

Pham asked Lovullo to get Peterson his first career World Series at-bat late in a game the D-backs were in control of.

“I said, ‘Are you sure? 100% sure?'” Lovullo said on Sunday. “I gave him some contingencies. I said, ‘If it is 7-1, that’s the only score I’ll allow it to happen. If it is 7-2, lefty-righty, I’m going to reconsider it and I’ll circle back to you.’ We all know what happened.”

The D-backs were up 7-1 in the top of the ninth inning, and Pham was set to face left-hander Martin Perez, whom he was 3-for-7 against.

Peterson stepped onto the on-deck circle, instead, taking away the lefty-righty advantage. The left-handed hitter bounced into a fielder’s choice and later came around to score.

Peterson said he had no idea Pham gave up an opportunity to accomplish something never done in MLB history. Only two players had picked up five hits in a  World Series game — Albert Pujols and Paul Molitor — and neither went 5-for-5.

“It was quick, he just said, ‘Take this last one,’ and I said, ‘Alright, I got you,'” Peterson said. “I had no idea about the records until after the after the game. If I would have known that was the deal, I would have told him no chance, no way.”

“This was a moment where it was a teammate loving a teammate to give him an opportunity,” Lovullo said. “He took what mattered to him personally — number one on the list — and said, ‘It’s more about the team and my teammate at this moment.’ That spoke volumes about what that clubhouse feels every single day.”

Pham and Peterson were both midseason trade acquisitions by the D-backs looking to contend down the stretch. They had never played together in the majors before.

The D-backs told Pham the plan was to bat him in the middle of the order, which has been the case. Pham has been hitting fifth this World Series. Peterson came over to fill the left-handed hitting infield void left by Josh Rojas getting dealt in the Paul Sewald trade. He was not on the NLCS roster but is a depth option on the World Series squad.

They both made their MLB debuts in 2014.

“Me and (Peterson) have close to nine years of service time, so it took us close to nine years to get to a World Series,” Pham said. “This opportunity doesn’t come so often.”

“He’s my guy and I’d do anything for him,” Peterson said.

With the Diamondbacks having such a young team, Peterson was one of the few players on the roster Pham knew when he was traded, along with veterans Christian Walker, Evan Longoria and Ketel Marte. He knew Sewald with their Las Vegas backgrounds, saying he stood in on the closer’s bullpens to get ready for spring training.

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