ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks’ Christian Walker belts walk-off home run vs. Dodgers after bee delay

May 1, 2024, 1:09 AM | Updated: 7:32 am

Christian Walker...

Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a walk off two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 10th inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on April 30, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Christian Walker’s first career walk-off home run put the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in the 10th inning of Tuesday’s game that started two hours late after a bee swarm delay.

Manager Torey Lovullo told Walker to hit a ball to the “effin'” moon before the at-bat, and Walker obliged with a 426-footer off a changeup from Dodgers reliever Nabil Crismatt.

It was a quick, decisive finish to a game that concluded nearly five hours after its original start time, and it marked the second walk-off win of the year for Arizona (14-17).

“Amazing,” Walker said. “Felt like that spot comes up a lot in extras with the guy on second and focus goes to maybe get a runner over, try to get that run across. Torey came up before the at-bat and ultimate confidence, ‘Go do what you normally do, let it fly, let’s win a game.’ That was nice. That was a little bit of edge that I needed.”

“I felt like that was a really good matchup for him as locked in as he is,” Lovullo added. “So we had a moment there afterwards and we laughed about it.”

Walker homered twice on Tuesday, driving in three of Arizona’s four runs on a night the offense struggled with runners aboard. Gabriel Moreno punched in the game-tying run with a single in the eighth off Daniel Hudson, ending an 0-for-10 streak for Arizona with runners in scoring position.

A baserunning mistake, though, kept the game tied 2-2 going into the ninth. Moreno had a chance to score on a Corbin Carroll double but slowed up going into third and was held there.

Scott McGough entered in the 10th inning to face the top of the Dodgers (19-13) order, and he had the bases loaded with one out. He escaped with only the Manfred Man having scored, giving his offense a shot with the tying run in scoring position and Walker due up.

The Diamondbacks overcame the difficult task of facing MLB’s top offense with an unexpected bullpen game caused by the delay.

A 6:40 p.m. start turned into 8:35 p.m. after a colony of bees settled atop the protective netting behind home plate. The Diamondbacks had to get someone from pest control on the line, and Matt Hilton drove from his son’s tee-ball game in Surprise to deal with the bees to a roaring ovation.

“We were in the cage watching, they had the camera zoomed in right on it,” Walker said. “So that seemed like the best view in the house.”

D-backs starter Jordan Montgomery was minutes away from taking the mound in his first home game with the club, but after two hours off, Arizona scratched him.

“Being able to get through this game, you scratch your starter because of something you can never ever predict and the bullpen goes out and keeps it in striking range the entire night, I’m just proud of this group,” Lovullo said.

Despite the sudden changes, Arizona held Los Angeles’ killer trio of Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Freddie Freeman to 2-for-12 with six strikeouts and three walks.

Brandon Hughes, a lefty recalled from Triple-A Reno before the game, started, and Arizona used seven pitchers to get through 10 innings — Hughes, Bryce Jarvis, Justin Martinez, Joe Mantiply, Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and McGough.

Jarvis and Thompson were especially vital with five shutout frames between them.

Hughes found out he was starting 45 minutes before taking the mound and delivered a scoreless first inning.

“One of my buddies texted me a Google screenshot of honeybees and how they’re a sign of good luck from ancient times,” Hughes said. “It was actually a little bit deeper, how they use teamwork and cooperation. I mean, that was a full team win right there.”

There was a possibility Tuesday’s game could have been pushed back to Wednesday, Thursday or August. Instead, it marked a highlight victory to cap an otherwise rocky month of D-backs baseball between tight losses and injuries.

Arizona has two one-run wins over the past three contests.

“This team needed that moment, it was good to watch them celebrate on the field the way they did,” Lovullo said.

Montgomery won’t wait long for his opportunity, as he’ll start Wednesday, pushing Zac Gallen to Friday against the San Diego Padres.

The Diamondbacks conclude their three-game series with the Dodgers Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. Yoshinobu Yamamoto will start for L.A.

Catch the game on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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