Twice the Arizona Diamondbacks scored a pair of runs in what appeared to be their final at-bats of the game to keep the action alive and the fans — at least most of them — in their seats as a Sunday afternoon affair crept into the evening hours.
They needed to do so a third time, however; and they could not.
So, it was the Pittsburgh Pirates who did the celebrating with a 12-10 13-inning, series-clinching victory, some five hours and 25-minutes after play began. The Pirates took two of three from the D-backs and have won three of four overall.
Four Pirates players had two RBIs, including Sean Rodriguez who drove in the go-ahead run in the 13th with a double off reliever Evan Marshall, the eighth different D-backs pitcher used.
Shelby Miller, who pinch-ran in the bottom of the 12th inning and then was inserted into the game in left field to begin the 13th, struck out to end the second-longest game at Chase Field, where the D-backs are now 3-7 and still without a series win.
Paul Goldschmidt, Welington Castillo and Yasmany Tomas all homered.
Goldschmidt hit two, including a game-tying two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.
It marked the sixth time in Goldschmidt’s career that he hit a game-tying homer in the ninth inning or later, the most in Major League Baseball since he entered the league in 2011.
That home run took starter Robbie Ray off the hook.
Ray was charged with five runs, four earned, in only three innings of work.
The Pirates tagged him for three runs in the third and another two in the fourth, when Ray was replaced by reliever Tyler Wagner, who proceeded to allow three more Pirates to cross home plate to cap a five-run frame and 8-4 Pittsburgh lead.
Starling Marte, Jason Rogers and Gregory Polanco each drove in two runs, while Rodriguez and Chris Stewart had RBI singles.
Marte finished with four hits, Polanco and David Freese three.
The four-run cushion wasn’t enough to secure the win for Francisco Liriano, who departed with the lead after six innings having allowed four runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
The D-backs, despite three hits apiece from Castillo and Brandon Drury plus two hits each by Goldschmidt and Tomas, were outhit in the game, 20-15.
Some confusion on Goldschmidt’s first-inning, opposite-field solo home run as both he and the fans had a delayed reaction, thinking right fielder Polanco had caught the ball. Polanco timed his jump perfectly but the ball sailed to the left of his glove, giving Goldschmidt his fourth homer of the season and the D-backs an early 1-0 lead. The hit extended the D-backs’ season-opening streak with at least one extra-base hit to 20 games, the longest in franchise history since 2010 (37).
Trailing by two and with two outs in the third inning, Castillo presented himself with a gift on this his 29th birthday, hitting an 85-mph slider on a 1-2 count off the left field foul pole for a three-run home run, momentarily giving the D-backs a 4-3 lead. Castillo, who singled in his first plate appearance, became the eighth D-back to homer on his birthday and the first since Justin Upton on Aug. 25, 2012 against the Padres. Castillo has six home runs and 10 RBIs over his last seven games.
Having already extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games — during which time he’s batting .357 (15-for-42) –with a third-inning single to right field, Tomas added an opposite-field home run to leadoff the eighth. It was his fourth homer of the season and was followed four batters later by a Chris Owings RBI triple, his second three-bagger of the season. The two-run frame ended a four-inning scoreless drought by the offense and pulled the D-backs to within two, 8-6.
Leave it to Goldschmidt to atone for his earlier mistakes in the field. With one on, one out and the D-backs down two in the bottom of the ninth inning, Goldschmidt clubbed 1-1 cut-fastball over the fence in right field for a game-tying home run, his second ball to exit the ballpark on the afternoon. Now with five home runs on the season, one behind Castillo for the team lead, Goldschmidt recorded his eighth career multi-homer game and first since Aug. 22, 2015 at Cincinnati.
Though no damage was done on the scoreboard, there may have been some residual damage done in terms of an elevated pitch count for Ray in the first inning. After retiring the first two batters, Ray allowed a double to Freese and then issued back-to-back walks to load the bases. At one point he threw six straight balls, prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Mike Butcher. Ray escaped the trouble by getting Rodriguez to hit into a fielder’s choice on what was his 33rd pitch of the 16-minute frame.
Two innings later, Ray again found himself in trouble, but this time was unable to repeat a Houdini-like escape. The Pirates opened the third with four straight hits, including a two-run triple by Rogers and an RBI single from Rodriguez. Following the Rodriguez at-bat, Ray retired the next three batters to limit the damage to three runs. For the third straight frame, however, he had thrown better than 20 pitches (21, putting his pitch count at 77) and for the second time in three innings had Wagner warming up in the bullpen.
Here’s something you don’t see every day, or ever: Goldschmidt committing two errors in one game. First, he misplayed Liriano’s two-out, second-inning ground ball; and then in the fourth he overthrew Castillo in an attempt to prevent Andrew McCutchen from scoring from third base on a fielder’s choice. The errors were his second and third of the season; and just two fewer than he committed all last season. Goldschmidt had never before had a two-error game in his six-year big league career.
Asked to duplicate his performance from three days prior in San Francisco, Wagner could not. Entering the fourth inning with runners on the corners and no outs, Wagner walked Freese to load the bases and then watched as three of the next five batters recorded base hits, including a pair of seeing-eye singles by Polanco and Stewart, as the Pirates scored five times. Wagner, who had thrown five scoreless innings against the Giants his last time out, was charged with three runs in his three innings of work.
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
10: The number of times (twice by Goldschmidt) the D-backs in their history have tied a game with a home run with at least one runner on base in the ninth inning
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
10-for-23: How the Pirates fared with runners in scoring position, including a 3-for-5 effort in the third inning against Ray, who coming into the game had held opponents to just one hit in 14 chances (.071) with runners in scoring position this season
HE SAID IT
“We had the opportunities to win. We just didn’t get it done,” manager Chip Hale said. “We battled. To come back in those situations against good pitchers, I thought our guys did a great job of doing that. Now we just have to execute in those crucial spots with a chance to win the game.”
Goldschmidt’s second home run was the 121st of his career, tied with Mark Reynolds for the fourth-most in franchise history
Ray, who was looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time in his career, had allowed two runs or fewer in six straight starts
Randall Delgado pitched two perfect innings, striking out four batters in his first scoreless appearance in his last three outings
Nick Ahmed earned his first career ejection after arguing a 12th-inning called third strike from home plate umpire Marvin Hudson
Zack Greinke (single) and Patrick Corbin (strikeout) each made pinch-hit appearances in the 12th and 13th innings, respectively
The game was played with the roof closed with temperatures inside the ballpark at 72 degrees and outside at 84 degrees
The D-backs saw their record drop to 2-3 when wearing their red alternate uniforms with red gradient ‘D’ cap
The D-backs Alumni Autograph Session included former catcher Chris Snyder signing autographs before the game
As part of Autism Awareness Day, MLB teamed up with Autism Speaks in a league-wide effort to support Autism Awareness
The season-long-tying 10-game homestand continues with a visit from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The defending National League Central Division champions will be town for four games, beginning Monday, April 25. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
The series opener pits right-hander Zack Greinke against left-hander Jaime Garcia.
Greinke (1-2, 5.25) has looked more like Greinke—the pitcher the D-backs expected when they signed him to a six-year, $206.5 million contract—going 1-0 with 1.93 ERA (3 ER in 14.0 IP) over his previous two starts. He beat the Giants in San Francisco the last time out, holding the home team to a run on six hits in 6.2 innings.
In his career, Greinke is 9-4 in 15 games, including 13 starts, versus the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Garcia (1-1, 2.70) will be making his fourth start of the season. He’s coming off a loss to Chicago in which the Cubs tagged him for two runs on four hits with four walks in five innings. Prior to that appearance he had pitched a complete game one-hit shutout of Milwaukee, striking out 13.
Garcia has never lost in five career starts against the D-backs, going 5-0 with a 2.51 ERA.
Overall, the D-backs have lost eight straight and 13 of 14 in the series with the Cardinals.