PHOENIX (AP) — More than 15 minutes after the game, Ketel Marte stood at his clubhouse locker, gulping water while trying to finally catch his breath after delivering the Arizona Diamondbacks’ latest clutch postseason moment.
“After my hit, I sprinted so hard,” Marte said, shaking his head.
Marte capped a three-hit afternoon with a walk-off single in the ninth, rookie Brandon Pfaadt pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and the Diamondbacks closed to 2-1 in the NL Championship Series by rallying to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Thursday.
On the verge of falling behind 3-0 in the best-of-seven matchup, Arizona tied the score on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s RBI double in the seventh.
Gurriel opened the ninth with a leadoff walk against Craig Kimbrel, stole second and took third on Pavin Smith’s infield single.
Gurriel was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Trea Turner on Emmanuel Rivera’s hard-hit grounder as the Phillies played the infield in. Geraldo Perdomo walked after falling behind 1-2 in the count and Marte — one of the few Diamondbacks who has looked comfortable at the plate this series — hit a liner that fell in front of center fielder Johan Rojas, sending the D-backs onto the field in celebration.
“I felt like I could make some pitches to get us out of it,” Kimbrel said. “Sometimes you get them. Some days you don’t. Today just wasn’t that day.”
Marte said he wasn’t nervous during his at-bat. The 30-year-old is hitting .382 with four doubles, two homers and five RBIs in eight postseason games this year and has a 12-game postseason hitting streak.
“I’m not a pressure guy,” Marte said. “I know what kind of hitter I am.”
It was the third postseason walk-off win for the Diamondbacks after series-winning hits by Tony Womack’s in the 2001 Division Series and Luis Gonzalez in 2001 World Series.
Defending NL champion Philadelphia had opened the postseason 7-1 and outscored the Diamondbacks 15-3 over two games at Citizens Bank Park, hitting six homers.
Bryce Harper put the Phillies ahead in the seventh when he scored on Ryan Thompson’s wild pitch.
“We are here at their place,” Harper said. “They played a really good game today. I thought both sides had good defense, good pitching. Just got to move on as soon as possible.”
After throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS clincher, Pfaadt struck out nine and allowed two hits against the Phillies with a mid-90s fastball and a nifty sweeper that had hitters chasing. The 25-year-old right-hander became the first pitcher in postseason history to have two straight outings giving up no runs and no walks.
“It was fun — I had a lot of things working,” Pfaadt said. “I was able to hone in on a few things, execute the way I wanted and get some big outs.”
Pfaadt combined with Andrew Saalfrank, Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald on a three-hitter. Sewald, who got the win, stranded Harper on second in the ninth when Alec Bohm took a called third strike.
Philadelphia’s Ranger Suárez gave up three hits and struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings, leaving after Marte’s leadoff double in the sixth. Suarez’s 0.94 ERA is the lowest in a pitcher’s first eight career postseason appearances.
“I was locating my pitches really well today,” Suárez said through an interpreter. “That helped me a lot.”
Harper walked against Saalfrank starting the seventh and Bohm followed with an infield single against Thompson. Bryson Stott grounded into a double play as Harper took third, and Thompson yanked an 0-1 slider that swerved over the left-handed batter’s box and bounced to the backstop. The ball rebounded to catcher Gabriel Montero, whose throw sailed past the pitcher covering the plate as Harper slid headfirst.
Arizona had been scoreless for 17 innings until the seventh. Tommy Pham singled off Orion Kerkering and Gurriel doubled down the left-field line. Smith singled to put runners at the corners but José Alvarado got Rivera to ground into a double play and Perdomo grounded out.
After nearly taking a 3-0 series lead, the Phillies planned to regroup.
“It could have gone either way, you know,” manager Rob Thomson said. “What are you going to do? I’m not going to think about it that way. I’m going to think about coming in here tomorrow and getting ready and getting ready to compete.”
The first two games of the NLCS were a hot ticket in Philadelphia, with fans paying hundreds of bucks just to get in the door.
Game 3 at Chase Field was much more affordable. Less than an hour before the game, seats were available on SeatGeek for as low as $18 and on StubHub for as low as $14. Prices were so low that Phillies fans claimed they bought tickets just to keep potential D-backs fans out of the stadium.
The D-backs announced a sellout crowd of 47,075 and the seats looked 99% full for a game that started at 2:07 p.m.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo shuffled his lineup significantly for Game 3 against the left-handed Suárez, flipping Marte and Corbin Carroll at the top of the order. He also batted Moreno third, dropped Pham to fifth and played the right-handed hitting Rivera at third base. Thomas — a left-handed hitter — wasn’t in the starting lineup after going 0 for 5 in the first two games.
Game 4 is on Friday night at 5:07 p.m. local time (8:07 p.m. EDT). The Phillies start LHP Cristopher Sánchez, who hasn’t pitched in the postseason. The D-backs counter with LHP Joe Mantiply (2-0, 9.00 ERA), normally a reliever.
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