Arizona Diamondbacks: Herrmann’s walk-off extends winning streak to four
By Mark Brown
As seems their signature this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks gained another come-from-behind victory.
If there is one word to characterize the essence of the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, it is to be resilient. Plus, toss in buoyance and spirited in the mix. Seemingly, this team is never out of a game, and even when the defense falls apart, there remains an undaunted spirit.
For Tuesday night’s come-from-behind, 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings before 24,256 in Chase Field, the Diamondbacks shook off a shake-down mode and, collectively, picked themselves off the mat. With three uncharacteristic errors in the seventh inning that resulted in a three-run deficient, the ability to stagger back and torment the Cardinals, as they have with several opponents this season, was evident.
With two in the eight and David Peralta’s game-tying homer leading off the ninth inning, the Diamondbacks were able to manufacture the game-winner in the 10th frame and leave still another calling card draped in determination and will power.
Afterward, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes there is one key ingredient which fuels this combustible engine.
"“They’re having fun playing this game,” he said. “This team never shuts down, and that was evident (Tuesday).”"
With their second walk-off victory in the last three games, the Diamondbacks increased their season mark to 50-28 and remain 1 1/2 games behind the NL West Division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. With the victory, the Diamondbacks extended their winning streak to four games.
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After Peralta’s game-tying bomb in the ninth, the Diamondbacks pulled this out during their next time at-bat. Rey Fuentes lead off the 10th with a sharp grounder which went under the glove of shortstop Aledmys Diaz. Pitcher Zack Godley, called upon as a pinch hitter, laid down a perfect bunt to advance Fuentes to second, and the fleet outfielder scored on a single from Chris Herrmann up the middle.
With first base open, Herrmann told Venom Strikes he was surprised by the decision from Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny to pitch to him.
"“Yes, I was surprised,” he said. “If they put me on, that sets up a possible double play. In that situation, I just wanted to put a good swing on the ball and hit it hard somewhere.”"
For starter Taijuan Walker Tuesday night, the cup was half-filled. At the same time, was the cup half-empty? The issue of control as evident in his outing, but there were two sides to Walker’s eventual dilemma.
Hitting the catcher Chris Iannetta’s glove constantly on first pitch strikes, Walker also lost sight of the strike zone during critical times. Walks in the first and sixth innings were deadly, but the Diamondbacks responded. As been their modus operandi all season, the offense picked up their starting pitcher. As soon as Iannetta’s two-run, two out double in the sixth inning tied this one, the defense then influenced the outcome.
With those three errors in the seventh inning, and one by Walker, the Cardinals picked up a critical three-spot, but the Diamondbacks responded by melting down the back end of the Cardinals bullpen.
Lack of control and command at important times doomed Walker, and that was the story line against the Cardinals. This was about walks at inopportune times and lapse in concentration in the seventh. In the first, Walker walked leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter, who came around to score. In the sixth, he walked the first two hitters and Stephen Piscotty scored.
Later, Walker admitted to Venom Strikes that his control must improve.
"“The walks were not four straight balls, but tough walks on long counts,” he said. “There’s no question I need to cut down on that. The figure is that 90 percent of those who walk score. So, the key is not to walk hitters.”"
Shortstop Nick Ahmed suffered a fracture of his right hand in the eighth inning. That’s when he was struck while batting and hit with a 100-mile per hour fast ball from Cardinals’ reliever Trevor Rosenthal.
After the game, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Ahmed’s hand was fractured and the Diamondbacks would make a further evaluation on Wednesday.
With a broken hand, Ahmed was will be placed on the disabled list and the Diamondbacks will likely call up Ketel Marte from Triple-A Reno. With the Aces, Marte, who came over with Walker from Seattle for shortstop Jean Segura in the off-season, was hitting .338 in 70 games.
From the trainer’s room
Outfielder Yasmany Tomas, on the disabled list since June 6 with right groin tendinitis, began a rehab session Tuesday night with the rookie Diamondbacks in the AZL rookie league
At the same time, outfielder A. J. Pollock, on the DL since May 15 with a strained right groin, is rehabbing at Triple-A Reno. Playing Tuesday night, manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes he would like to see Pollock get 10 to 15 at-bats in this rehab assignment. Then, the organization will make a determination of his status and possible placement back on the major league 25-man roster.
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The current series with the St. Louis Cardinals continues Wednesday night. That’s when righty Zack Godley (3-1, 2.53 ERA) takes on right-hander Adam Wainwright (7-5, 5.35). In the finale Thursday afternoon, lefty Patrick Corbin (6-7. 4.89) faces righty Lance Lynn (5-5, 3.86).
Then, the Colorado Rockies move in for a three-game, weekend set.