The Arizona Diamondbacks had to play the first 128 games of this season without one of their best hitters. One of the better hitters in all of baseball, really. So they were more than happy to slide A.J. Pollock’s name into the lineup on Friday night, and he delivered.
Suiting up for the first time after working his way back from a fractured elbow, Pollock made an impressive play in center field early on and saw his at-bats get progressively better throughout the evening.
By the time the ninth rolled around, Arizona was clinging to a 2-1 lead. Daniel Hudson got the first two outs without any issues and picked up two strikes on Ivan De Jesus.
That’s when things got weird.
De Jesus singled and so did the next two hitters, leading to Cincinnati tying the game up and sending it to extra innings.
The Reds then took the lead in the 10th, courtesy of a balk, but the D-backs evened the game right back up in the bottom of the inning – courtesy of another balk. One inning later, Arizona pulled off the victory when Brandon Drury came around to score on a wild pitch.
It wasn’t the prettiest victory in franchise history, but it still counts. Edwin Escobar got the win in front of 26,087 fans at Chase Field, running the Diamondbacks’ record to 54-75 on the year.
– Pollock didn’t show any rust in the field, stretching out to make a nice running grab on a liner off the bat of Brandon Phillips that was heading for the center field wall in the fourth inning.
– Rickie Weeks, Jr. scored Arizona’s first two runs of the evening by tripling in the second inning and homering in the fourth.
– Braden Shipley flashed some good reflexes on a ball hit sharply back up the middle by Scott Schebler in the sixth. He was able to knock it down and fire to first for the final out of the inning, preventing the tying run from scoring from third base.
– The Diamondbacks swiped two more bags tonight, for a total of 34 in August. At this point, they’re just building on their club record for steals in a single month.
– With two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth, Paul Goldschmidt was thrown out trying to advance to third. That ended the inning, and kept the Arizona lead at just 2-1. Which proved to be an issue just moments later.
– Daniel Hudson cruised through the first two batters of the ninth, and seemed poised to slam the door on the Reds. But the wheels came off after that, setting the stage for extra innings.
– Cincinnati took the lead in the 10th when Enrique Burgos balked runners from first and second over to second and third. Up next, Ramon Cabrera was able to lift a sacrifice fly into right.
STAT OF THE GAME
2: Number of balks issued in the 10th inning between the two teams. And both ultimately led to runs.
HE SAID IT
“That’s why I love to play baseball – to watch that kind of stuff. The team’s constantly rallying and never quits, and that’s just a testament to what this team has to offer.” – Braden Shipley
-To make room for Pollock, the D-backs optioned Mitch Haniger to Triple-A Reno after Thursday’s game. David Peralta was also moved to the 60-day DL prior to tonight’s contest.
-The Diamondbacks will host the Alumni Game at 2:30 on Saturday.
These teams will meet again on Saturday at Chase Field. First pitch is set for 5:10, with pregame coverage beginning at 4:30 on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Zack Godley (4-2) will take the mound for Arizona, looking to bounce back from a rough outing on Aug. 23, in which he allowed seven earned runs over five innings. The D-backs still emerged victorious over the Braves in that contest, though, and have now won two straight — and three of their last four — when Godley takes the mound.
In two career appearances against the Reds, Godley is 2-0 with a 5.79 ERA.
Cincinnati will counter with Anthony DeSclafani (7-2), who is enjoying arguably the best season of his young career. The 26-year old righty owns a 3.27 ERA to go with his seven wins, though he has dropped two of his last three starts. Included in that stretch is his most recent outing – a 4-0 loss to the Dodgers in which he surrendered four runs over seven frames.
Saturday will be DeSclafani’s third career start against Arizona. He’s 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in his first two.