The ‘D’ in Diamondbacks stands for defense

PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks have made defense a priority, but even they might not have expected the highlight-reel quality of Tuesday’s victory. 
The D-backs beat San Diego, 10-9 in 10 innings, on Aaron Hill’s walkoff single, but the game would not have lasted that long except for a handful of plays that had to be seen to be believed.
–First baseman Paul Goldschmidt made a long running catch of a foul popup in the first inning.
–Right fielder Gerardo Parra made a overhead catch in the second and a laser throw home in the ninth.
–Shortstop Didi Gregorius made a sliding stop and pirouette throw in the third inning and a behind-the-back catch of a popup in left-center in the seventh.
–Third baseman (this night) Martin Prado saved the game, in essence with a diving catch of a bases-loaded line drive hit by Jedd Gyorko down the third-base line in the ninth inning. The ball was ruled fair by the third -base umpire, and at least two runs would have scored. 
 “We were tied, so I had to guard the line. I got a chance to see it and I just dove for it,” Prado said.

The key?
“You make the plays when you need to,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.
The D-backs are tied for second the fewest errors in the NL with 64, and it has been the most reliable phase of their game this season.
“It’s been our defense and the clutch hitting that has kept us in games,” closer Brad Ziegler said.
“There have been a lot of games that we’ve won and you look back on and are like, ‘How did we just pull that off?’ You look at little plays here and there, and that’s exactly what happened.
Prado’s stab was the most decisive, since it was the difference-maker.
Gregorius’ catch was the most unusual — he over-ran Alexi Amarista’s popup, but with one knee planted Gregorius, reached backwards to catch the ball for the third out, preventing a runner on second base from scoring. Teammates reacted with high-fives as he reached the dugout.


“I had to put my knee down to stay balanced and make the play,” Gregorius said. 
“You just play the game, and whatever happens happens.”
Second baseman Hill had both of Gregorius’ plays right in front of him.
“Didi is an unbelievable shortstop. He has one of the best arms in baseball. Paul (Goldschmidt) does it day in and day out. All of them,” Hill said. “We see that all the time. They work their butt off day in and day out. It’s fun to see them rewarded with a highlight reel on ESPN, or whatever it is.”
Parra is ranked first in the NL in defensive WAR rating in right field. Goldschmidt is tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the best defensive WAR at first base,. A.J. Pollock is rated fifth in center field. Cliff Pennington is No. 1 at second base and No. 2 at shortstop, both in more limited time.
“We have a lot of guys who can do some cool things on the field,” Pennington said. “Sometimes it goes in spurts where you have a chance to make them, and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now, we’re in a stretch where we have lots of opportunities to make the cool plays, and we are pulling them off.”
“It’s awesome. It’s just like getting an extra-base hit when you drive in as run. It’s the same kind of deal, especially if you save a run.”
It does not show up in the box score.
“But those are the kinds of things that lead to wins,” Pennington said.

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