ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks overcome frustrating night as Kevin Newman walks off Reds

May 14, 2024, 12:29 AM | Updated: 9:23 am

Kevin Newman...

Kevin Newman #18 (L) of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates his walk-off, two-run single with Eugenio Suárez #28 against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at Chase Field on May 13, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Reds 6-5. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Monday’s Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 walk-off win over the Cincinnati Reds screamed hair-pulling loss until the final pitch flipped the story.

Arizona (20-22) started 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and let a late lead slip away in the eighth inning. Designated hitter Joc Pederson and manager Torey Lovullo were ejected after Pederson was rung up on a pitch out of the zone.

Corbin Carroll took a pitch to the hand and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. got plunked by a fastball in the midsection — Lovullo said they are okay.

With all the mounting angst, the Diamondbacks worked the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing 5-4. Then the right man dug in.

Shortstop Kevin Newman, Arizona’s nine-hole hitter who did not make the roster out of camp but was needed due to injuries, happens to be on fire.

And hitting walk-offs happens to be his specialty.

Newman flicked an 0-1 slider from Reds closer Alexis Diaz into right field, scoring two runs for his sixth career walk-off hit.

Kevin Newman, Diamondbacks’ player of the game

“Thought process is, honestly, just stay middle,” Newman said. “That’s what I’ve changed in the last few days is just working on staying up the middle to stay on those offspeed pitches a little bit better. So I stayed on that one just enough and it dropped in.”

Newman finished the game 4-for-5 and has eight hits over his last three games. His OPS went from .501 on Friday to .710.

Four of his career walk-offs have come against Cincinnati, two off Diaz.

“I think it’s just really fun to have the fans behind you and the fans cheering for you so much in such a big situation,” Newman said. “It feels like however many people are there in the stadium and yourself against the pitcher. It’s a really cool feeling.”

Lovullo was appreciative of the way the club fought and remained composed.

Gabriel Moreno and Jake McCarthy stayed patient to work walks as Diaz struggled to control his pitches after hitting Gurriel.

“(Newman has) been playing really great baseball, so right guy in the right spot. But it was built by some patient approaches,” Lovullo said.

“This was a really frustrating night. We seemed to get right there and we couldn’t get that big hit to get us over the top. They kept scrambling and scoring runs and made it real interesting. They pulled ahead and I felt like the best part of the day was everybody regrouping, getting grounded and doing what they had to do to win a baseball game.”

The Diamondbacks got contributions from throughout the lineup on Monday, with the bottom third (Moreno, Pavin Smith, Randal Grichuk, McCarthy and Newman, including substitutions) finishing 6-for-10 with four walks and four RBIs. Moreno hit his first home run of the season in the second off Reds starter Graham Ashcraft.

“I think we’re doing a really good job of battling … trying to get on for the guy behind you, some big boppers at the top of the lineup that can rake,” Newman said.

Pederson, Lovullo explain ejections

Even the specifics in which the Diamondbacks lost the lead felt particularly frustrating.

Reds first baseman Jeimer Candelario checked his swing with two strikes in the eighth inning, and third-base umpire Dan Merzel said he held up. Lovullo did not agree, he admitted later, and Candelario drove in the game-tying single off Kevin Ginkel. The hit was initially called a catch by Carroll in center before replay review overturned it.

Designated hitter Mike Ford roped a ball to right field, which hit off a corner along the fence and bounced the other direction from McCarthy, allowing Candelario to score and take a 5-4 lead.

Pederson’s ordeal occurred with two men on in the bottom half as the D-backs were looking to respond. Home plate umpire Make Carlson rung Pederson up on a pitch low-and-away. Pederson flipped his bat to the ground and squatted, holding his head in disbelief. Carlson gave him a quick hook, and Lovullo was not far behind.

“I didn’t agree with one of the pitches, I flipped my bat and he threw me out,” Pederson said. “And I said what’d you throw me out for? He says ‘Well you flipped the bat.’ I didn’t know that was illegal. I guess I learned something new.”

“I felt like Joc was treated a little bit unfairly there,” Lovullo said. “Usually when the bat is thrown down or slammed that’s an immediate ejection, but Joc flipped it and then picked it up immediately. I don’t think that was very fair, but I was still really pissed about the check swing that wasn’t called against Candelario. I was having a tough time getting that one through my head.”

Pederson was called out on a check swing earlier in the game he did not agree with and had some words at the time. Lovullo felt that added to the frustration of the moment.

“Could I have handled the situation better? Yeah, but at the same time, I think there’s a lot of emotions in this game,” Pederson said. “I was shocked I guess with both of them and reacted in a way that I don’t think caused too much time delay or disrespect.”

Pederson had an eventful night having blasted a solo shot 434 feet off Ashcraft in the third inning.

Arizona starter Jordan Montgomery, meanwhile, went 5.1 innings and let in three earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts.

Relievers Ryan Thompson and Joe Mantiply bridged the gap to the eighth inning, but Ginkel has now allowed runs in three of his last four appearances. Justin Martinez gave the D-backs a clean ninth and picked up his first MLB win. Martinez’s ERA dropped to 0.71.

Monday was Arizona’s third walk-off victory of the season.

“They just really did a wonderful job of rallying around one another despite that frustration and winning a big ballgame,” Lovullo said. “It was nice to see them celebrate out there on the field.”

Diamondbacks’ next game

The D-backs will play for a series win Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. Slade Cecconi will get the start for Arizona against Reds right-hander Hunter Greene, the same pitching matchup as Thursday’s 5-4 D-backs win in Cincinnati.

Catch the game and pregame coverage in 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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