D-backs heroics fall short in rally against Padres
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks put together all the elements of a scintillating rally on Saturday. Career minor league grinder Danny Dorn hit a two-run double to tie the game in the ninth inning, starting pitcher Chase Anderson fine-tuned his pitching mid-game and Arizona set up a walk-off possibility in extra innings.
It wasn't to be, leaving Arizona manager Chip Hale wondering what he could have done differently after a 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres in 12 innings.
"For me, just a lot of different things you think about," Hale said. "They battled against possibly the best closer (Craig Kimbrel) in baseball with very good stuff tonight, throwing hard."
Arizona trailed 4-2 in the ninth when Dorn, pinch hitting, knocked in Jordan Pacheco and Aaron Hill with a double down the right-field line off Kimbrel to end the pitcher's 35-game save streak.
"His stuff's unbelievable," Dorn said of Kimbrel, whose fastball was clocked as fast as 98 mph. "You got to be ready for it, he throws so hard. You're just trying to see the ball. Luckily it was down so I was able to drop the barrel on it a little bit. To tie the game and have a chance to win it and have a line-drive double-play is tough."
Quickly in the 10th, the D-backs' opportunity for a walk-off presented itself when A.J. Pollock and David Peralta found themselves on the corners. With one out, Cliff Pennington shot a liner to a diving Jedd Gyorko, who snatched the ball out of the air and turned the double-play at first.
The game went San Diego's way from there. Former Diamondback Justin Upton ripped a homer off Randall Delgado in the 12th, and the Padres head into Sunday's finale with a shot at winning the series.
Despite his heroics, Dorn was optioned to Triple-A Reno within an hour of the game. Arizona needs a Sunday starting pitcher with Archie Bradley still on the disabled list, and it's possible they turn to some combination of a called-up pitcher and a long reliever -- perhaps Daniel Hudson, who was not used as Hale rolled through six bullpen arms.
Hale after the game declined to announce who would start Sunday.
"We're not going to announce that," Hale said. "We have an idea of what we're going to do but we're not going to announce it."
The starting job on Saturday was done well by Anderson, who went seven innings and calmed down after allowing a first-inning run. This after six shutout innings in his last start also yielded a no-decision when the D-backs were shut out by the Dodgers.
Anderson even added a little pop with his bat. Arizona led 2-1 lead in the fifth when he took a swat at a tall slider out of the zone for an up-the-middle single to score Pacheco from second base. It was his first major league RBI.
Anderson threw 93 pitches against the Padres and Hale said he very well could've gone longer. In hindsight, maybe that would have changed the outcome. Arizona's relievers got into trouble in the eighth, when Jedd Gyorko doubled off Oliver Perez, and from third scored when Yongervis Solarte's bloop double off Brad Ziegler fell just outside left foul territory. San Diego went ahead 3-2 with Derek Norris' shot to right field.
"It doesn't look good now because of what happened," Hale said. "But to get seven out of him, we were happy to turn it over to our bullpen. We felt good about that. You look back and that's one of the things you think about: should we have left him in? He only had 93 (pitches) and could have gone farther. But at that point it was our decision and we felt good about Oliver coming in. ... It didn't work out."
Added Anderson: "I felt like I could probably go another inning but they're making the decisions and I trust what they're going to do. And we have a good bullpen; they just struggled with it tonight."
Hidden in the muck of an ultimately ugly eighth inning, Nick Ahmed subtly gave the D-backs a chance to get out of the jam unscathed. Gyorko was on third base with one out, and a ground ball by Upton hit toward Ahmed was scooped up by the shortstop, who took two extra steps before finally throwing to Goldschmidt for the out. It was enough to make Gyorko hesitate about leaving third, without Ahmed needing to look him back.
* Ender Inciarte and A.J. Pollock couldn't get it going at the top of the order, though Pollock was feet short of a home run in the eighth. Pollock singled off pitcher Brandon Maurer to start the 10th and Inciarte singled in the 12th.
* Upton had his fair shares of ups and downs at his former home. But the night ended on a high. Arizona didn't put a runner on base until the fourth inning, when Goldschmidt broke up starter Tyson Ross' no-hit bid with a single to right. Peralta then ripped a shot to Upton in left field. Attempting to make an impossible grab too far in front of him, Upton's dive allowed the ball roll all the way to the wall. Goldschmidt turned the corner at third and tied the game at 1. But Upton also smached the game-winning homer, a 3-2 fastball from Delgado, in the 12th inning.
35 -- Anderson's RBI single was his second career hit to end an 0 for 35 spell. Padres' pitcher Craig Kimbrel's streak of 35 consecutive saves ended as well.
Archie Bradley took more time to make 14-year-old Nick Shumaker's day. Both took liners to the face a few weeks back and bonded over their scary experiences.