Pollock, Goldschmidt lead D-backs to season-ending win
PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks to start the season knew they had a cornerstone in Paul Goldschmidt, and over the course of 162 games quickly learned they have another in A.J. Pollock.
Fittingly, the tandem sent the D-backs into the off-season on a winning note Sunday.
Both Goldschmidt and Pollock hit home runs in the season finale, the former’s deposited into the home bullpen for the game-winner in a 5-3 victory over the Astros at Chase Field.
The D-backs have dynamic duos in their brief history — Luis Gonzalez and Matt Williams in the early days, Justin Upton and Chris Young the last time they made the postseason, and, of course, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling on the pitching side — and in Goldschmidt and Pollock they have another that could be together longer.
Pollock’s home run Sunday, part of a three-hit day that also included a stolen base, banged high off the center-field batter’s eye in the first inning. He and Goldschmidt became the second D-backs teammates to join the 20/20 club; Upton and Young did it in 2011.
Goldschmidt finished with 32 home runs and 21 steals, while Pollock had 20 homers and 39 steals.
"Overall as an offense, I love watching us," Pollock said. "… Up and down our order, it’s fun to watch.
"The first two games against these guys, that’s not the showing we wanted for the last series of the year. We went out there and played well (Sunday) and got the win."
After rarely competing against the playoff-bound Astros in the two previous games, the D-backs kept Houston from hosting the American League wild-card game. Instead, the Astros will face the Yankees in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
The D-backs took three one-run leads early in the game and the Astros pulled even each time and took their first lead in the seventh.
That’s when Pollock and Goldschmidt struck for the final time.
Pollock led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to right against a defensive shift. He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before Goldschmidt hammered a full-count pitch from Chad Qualls down the left-field line and into the D-backs bullpen.
The home run was the biggest blow, but manager Chip Hale said two subtle plays Goldschmidt made earlier in the game were just as important. The first was when he cut down George Springer going from second to third on a relay play, and the second was when he took second base on a ball in the dirt and then scored on a ground-rule double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
"We made some plays, I thought, that kind of go under the radar a little bit," Hale said. "Those are huge plays and sometimes people don’t talk about them. That just shows you what type of player Paul is."
Brad Ziegler pitched two innings for his 30th save and 28th consecutive conversion, which ties a club record with J.J. Putz from 2012. It was Ziegler’s first appearance in a week.
- A.J. Pollock
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Brad Ziegler
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Diamondbacks
- Houston Astros
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- Paul Goldschmidt