PHOENIX — Nick Ahmed had two responsibilities on the final play Sunday — stay at first base long enough not to get picked off and get to second quickly enough to disrupt a potential double play. He was 2-for-2.
Ahmed helped the D-backs to the weirdest walk-off in franchise history when he was struck on the left forearm with a throw to break up a double play as Tuffy Gosewisch scored from third base in a 3-2, 10-inning victory.
"I was anticipating if the ball was on the ground, trying to go in hard and trying to break up two," Ahmed said. "I went in hard and slid late, and it looked like Nix (Pirates second baseman Jayson) kind of dropped down to make the throw.
"That’s the way we are taught to slide and play the game. Go in hard and late. It wasn’t a dirty play in my mind at all. I slid in hard. I don’t know if that altered his throw at all."
With runners on first and third and one out, Andy Marte hit an apparent double play grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer. Mercer threw to second for the force before Nix’s throw struck Ahmed. The ball rolled toward the mound and Gosewisch scored easily.
"Nick’s a heady player," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He does then little things well. That’s the object. You want to stay up, go down late, try to alter the throw if you can do that. It seems like he’s pretty good at that kind of stuff."
The Pirates argued that Ahmed should have been called for interference, but the umpires disagreed.
"The guy has to do something obviously, willfully, intentionally to break up that double play," crew chief Ron Kulpa told a pool reporter. "Guys slide into second base all the time with their hands up. It’s a big play. We looked at the tape, and Lance (second base umpire Barrett) got it right."
"Obviously I had no intention," Ahmed said. "I don’t think anyone has ever done that, throw their hands up and block the ball."
Ahmed met reporters while his left forearm was bandaged and iced.
"It was good to get the win," Ahmed said. "I’ll take that sore arm for a ‘W.’"
Left fielder Alfredo Marte made the catch Cubs left fielder Moises Alou wishes he could have made in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against Florida. Marte reached into the seats along the left field foul line to catch Travis Snider’s foul fly in the sixth inning. The aware Diamondbacks fan backed away from the padded fence to give Marte room to make the play.
7 — Strikeouts by Trevor Cahill, one short of his season high.
*Trevor Cahill made his most effective start of the season, going seven innings for the first time and giving up only one run. His sinking fastball was effective early, and he worked his off-speed pitches well as the game went on. Cahill struck out the final batter he faced — pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez — on five consecutive change-ups with the tying run on second and two outs in the seventh. "I could see the confidence in his face," Gibson said when he went to the mound before Alvarez’s at-bat. "I think he’s made progress. I certainly hope so."
*Given precedent, Randall Delgado will be not be suspended for hitting Andrew McCutchen in the back Saturday because no warnings had been issued. Evan Marshall was not suspended after hitting Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun on June 17 for the same reason.
*Tuffy Gosewisch could get a little more time moving forward, Gibson said. Games like Sunday always help. Gosewisch singled, doubled and walked, and he threw out two runners attempting to steal second base. "I think Miggy (Montero) is getting a little worn down, and we play well behind (Gosewisch)," Gibson said. "He’s got a lot of energy. I feel very comfortable putting him in for Miggy."
Andrew McCutchen left the game after feeling discomfort in his left side following his sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning. McCutchen said x-rays were negative, and he did not seem to believe the injury was the result of the pitch he took in the back in the ninth inning Saturday. "I thought I was cramping," McCutchen said. He said he received treatment for his back Sunday morning, but went through his warm-ups "fine, no issues. It wasn’t a major issue besides being bruised."