Arizona Diamondbacks End Season with Walkoff Victory over San Diego Padres

Diamondbacks Padres
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 28: Christian Walker #53 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates a solo home run with teammate Ketel Marte #4 in the second inning of the MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on September 28, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 1, Padres 0

PHOENIX, Sep. 29 – Tim Locastro beat out an infield single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in Christian Walker from third and give the Arizona Diamondbacks a 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres Sunday afternoon.

The game began with Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker – in his first major league start since having Tommy John surgery – pitching a scoreless first inning. This came despite a one-out double by left fielder Wil Myers. Padres starting pitcher Michel Baez – making his first major league start – responded with a perfect bottom of the first. He added a 1-2-3 frame in the second. In the top of that inning, new Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young only allowed one hit. However, the star of that inning was third baseman Eduardo Escobar. He made two fine fielding plays – one to his left and one to his right – and finished both off with strong throws to make the first and second outs.

Padres Threaten, but Diamondbacks Get Out of the Jam

Both the Padres and the Diamondbacks managed a baserunner in the third, but the Diamondbacks left theirs stranded in scoring position. The Padres had theirs wiped out by a ground ball double play, 5-4-3. In the top of the fifth, Padres right fielder Josh Naylor led off with a single – his second hit of the game – and advanced when Young hit the next batter, shortstop Luis Urias, with a pitch. After center fielder Travis Jankowski flied to left, pinch hitter Hunter Renfroe smashed a hot one-hopper up the middle. Slick-fielding shortstop Nick Ahmed dove to his left and knocked the ball down with the tip of his glove. He picked the ball up with his bare hand and shoveled it backhanded to second baseman Wilmer Flores on the bag, but the throw was too late to retire the sliding Urias.

This loaded the bases for Greg Garcia, who popped to short for the second out. Then Myers hit a sharp roller to third, where Escobar scooped it up and stepped on the bag for an inning-ending force play that energized the crowd.

Diamondbacks Finally Threaten

The Diamondbacks got their first runner into scoring position in the bottom of the sixth, and it would have been unearned if it had come across the plate, since Ahmed reached first on a throwing error by Urias. A follow-up single to right by Escobar allowed the speedy Ahmed to go first to third, bringing up the previous night’s hero – first baseman Christian Walker – with runners on the corners. However, he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning with the game still scoreless.

Late Inning Excitement

The Padres managed to get a runner into scoring position in the top of the eighth, when third baseman Manny Machado hit a surprising two-out hustle double to left center, but first baseman Eric Hosmer followed with a strikeout, leaving Machado stranded. No one else reached scoring position until the bottom of the ninth. Escobar led off the frame against Matt Strahm with a base hit to right center. He tried to make it to second, but a nice throw by Jankowski arrived in time to tag the diving Escobar. Walker followed with a double near the line in shallow right. Left fielder Josh Rojas then grounded to second, allowing Walker to advance to third on the second out of the inning.

That brought up right fielder Tim Locastro, who hit a grounder deep in the hole between shortstop and third. Urias made a nice play to get to the ball, but he had no chance to throw the speed demon out at first. This allowed Walker to score and give the Diamondbacks a walkoff victory in the final game of the season.

Reliever Stefan Crichton (1-0) earned the victory – the first of his major league career. Strahm (6-11) took the loss. The Diamondbacks ended the season with a record of 85-77, their third consecutive winning season, while the Padres dropped to 70-92.

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