D-backs win pitchers' duel in walk-off fashion
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks needed something special to beat Josh Beckett on Sunday, and that is what they got.
The prettiest mis-hit of Paul Goldschmidt’s career gave the D-backs a 1-0 walk-off win over the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday at Chase Field in a game in which there were few scoring chances and even fewer well-struck balls.
Goldschmidt hit a spinner that eked through the the right side of the infield to drive in A.J. Pollock from second base with one out, a crazy grounder that was just out of the reach of diving second baseman Mark Ellis.
“Luckily, I just found a hole," Goldschmidt said. "It wasn’t a bad swing, but I was way out in front. I capped it off the end of the bat, and luckily it kind of spun away from their second baseman and got through the hole.
“When I saw it, I knew it had a chance, the way the side spin was. I It kept spinning toward first base and got away from him. I’ll take it.”
It was not the 413-foot double that Goldschmidt hit off the top of the center-field fence Saturday, but it was what it took to settle the best pitching matchup of the season, with Trevor Cahill and three relievers matching Beckett all the way to the end. J.J. Putz pitched the ninth inning for the victory.
Beckett, part of the massive haul the Dodgers got from the Red Sox at the 2012 trade deadline, threw his first complete game since June 15, 2011, when he had a one-hit shutout against the Rays. He was almost that good Sunday, giving up six hits and striking out nine while walking only one.
That walk came in the ninth-inning rally that gave the D-backs (8-4) the series victory, two games to one, and their 12th win in the last 15 games against the Dodgers.
Pollock doubled with one out in the ninth inning, thinking second right out of the box on his drive to left-center field that was fielded by Carl Crawford, who underwent left elbow surgery last season. Beckett threw two balls to Miguel Montero before issuing an intentional walk to bring up Goldschmidt.
Pollock’s extra base set up the inning, and he called it a “good risk” to try for second base. He made it easily.
“I put it in a spot that no matter who it was, they would have to make a pretty good throw,” Pollock said. "I knew Crawford had that surgery last year, but at the same time, I knew how well Beckett was throwing. If I could get on second, there would be a pretty good chance. I made up my mind and hoped for the best.
“He (Beckett) didn’t make too many mistakes. He was hitting corner in, corner out. He just left that one a little bit over the plate. A little surprised to see it, given how good he threw the entire day.”
Cahill, like Beckett, had his best start of the season in his third appearance. He gave up six hits and did not walk a batter in 7 1/3 innings, with control the key. Cahill had walked five and hit two in his previous two starts covering 10 2/3 innings.
The Dodgers got only two runners as far as second base off Cahill, who said being in a pitcher’s duel can be motivating.
“You could tell from the get-go he had his good (stuff), and you knew it was going to be close. I just tried to match him. Going against a guy like that, it helps you lock in a little bit more,” Cahill said.
“It’s nice, because you get in kind of a rhythm. He was throwing 10 to 15 pitches an inning, and there wasn’t a huge wait or anything (between innings). In the dugout I get antsy. You want them to score runs, but sometimes I really want to get back out there.”
Situational specialists Tony Sipp and Brad Ziegler helped Cahill out of the eighth inning after Nick Punto singled and Beckett sacrificed him to second. Lefty Sipp got the left-handed-hitting Crawford on a grounder to first base, and righty Ziegler got right-handed-hitting Mark Ellis on a grounder to third.
“Very good game. Very good series. Very good team,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "That is the way it is going to be when we play this year."
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