Cardinals’ Nolan Gorman hits walk-off home run to beat Diamondbacks

Apr 22, 2024, 7:59 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm

Manager Torey Lovullo...

Manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pulls Brandon Pfaadt #32 of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 22, 2024 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images)

The first pitch from Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Kyle Nelson to St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Nolan Gorman was blasted 425 feet for a walk-off home run at Busch Stadium on Monday evening to open their three-game series.

The Cardinals (10-13) trailed from the top of the second inning until the bottom of the seventh but snatched a 5-3 victory on a hanging slider.

Arizona (11-13) starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt did not allow a base runner until the fifth frame, and the D-backs led 3-0 going into the sixth, yet this was another game that simply slipped away with a combination of failures to build upon the lead and execution out of the bullpen. Arizona had the bases loaded twice in the second inning and scored one run and then stranded runners on second and third with one out in the fifth against Lance Lynn, who allowed the four home runs in one inning in the NLDS at Chase Field with the Dodgers last October.

In Sunday’s 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants, the offense gave the bullpen wiggle room with late insurance. On Monday, it did not get a runner to second base past the fifth inning.

Pfaadt breezed through a perfect first four innings with nine, 13, nine and 11 pitches, respectively. Nolan Arenado broke up the no-hitter with a lead-off single in the fifth, the second time in as many game a D-backs starter threw four hitless frames to start the game after Slade Cecconi on Sunday.

The game got away from Pfaadt in the sixth inning, as he walked the first three hitters, the latter two on 3-2 counts. He forced Willson Contreras to pop up, but Lars Nootbaar followed with a two-run single the other way to end Pfaadt’s night and turn it to the bullpen.

Scott McGough came in and got what was called for, a ground ball from Arenado to end the inning and close Pfaadt’s book with 5.1 innings and two earned runs.

It was looking like a heroic response from Pfaadt given the brutal weekend for Arizona’s rotation with Ryne Nelson going on the 15-day injured list Friday and Merrill Kelly getting scratched on Sunday. Pfaadt still exited with the lead and has now thrown 12.1 innings with four earned runs over his last start. He also did not allow a home run on Monday for the first time since his first start of the year on March 31.

McGough’s magic ended when he came back out for the seventh, relenting a game-tying home run to Paul Goldschmidt (432 feet) on a 92 mph fastball right down the middle. Joe Mantiply dug out of a hole with two men on in the seventh and Ryan Thompson gave Arizona a scoreless eighth before allowing an infield single to Goldschmidt in the ninth.

Manager Torey Lovullo had Kevin Ginkel and Nelson up in the bullpen and opted for the lefty-lefty matchup with Gorman coming up. It didn’t work. Gorman, a Phoenix native who went to Sandra Day O’Connor High School, hit his first career walk-off dinger.

Nelson started the year with 9.1 scoreless innings but has allowed five earned runs and recorded four outs over his last three appearances.

AZCentral’s Theo Mackie reported left-hander Tommy Henry will start Tuesday’s game in St. Louis, meaning a coinciding roster move is coming, possibly Kelly. The Cardinals will send lefty Steven Matz to the bump.

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