For the only the fifth time in history, the Arizona Diamondbacks hit three consecutive home runs to open the game.
If the Arizona Diamondbacks intend to stay in the chase for a post-season position, this may not be a bad time to start thinking seriously about that destination.
That would include playing a complete game and as the schedule edges closer to August, there is the likelihood of little room for error. That would include establishing a lead and tenaciously holding on that advantage.
After etching some incredible numbers in the record books Friday night, the Diamondbacks jumped all over National League All-Star starter Max Scherzer and created separation which, they desired, would last the entire nine innings.
For that to happen, the burden then fell on starter Zack Godley, who allowed the Nationals to creep up, by the time he left in the sixth inning, to pull within one run. In the end, Brandon Drury’s walk-off, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth salavaged a 6-5 victory over the Washington Nationals before 37,858 in Chase Field.
The win was the third victory in their last four games, and moved the Diamondbacks to within 9.5 games of the NL West Division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. At the same time, they opened a 1.5 games separation from the Colorado Rockies.
An emotionally drained manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes after this one that his team literally gutted out a victory which should have been easier to achieve. Beating up on Scherzer was an effort Lovullo said that took Scherzer “out of a game as early as I have ever seen.” The Diamondbacks then waded through a Nationals come-back which bordered on the scary.
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Down 5-0, the Nats eventually closed the gap to one run and gained the equalizer when catcher Matt Wieters doubled in Anthony Rendon in the eighth.
That’s then the emotion, the power and drive from this resilient edition of the Diamondbacks responded during their final time at bat. After A. J. Pollock slammed a lead-off triple to dead centerfield and Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt received intentional walks, Drury delivered with an one-out single to right for his fourth career walk-off game winner.
At the at-bat, Drury battled 99 and 100 miles per hour fast balls from Nats’ reliever Enny Romero before driving in the winning run. Afterward, Drury explained his strategy to Venom Strikes.
"“I knew (Romero) throws really hard, so I’m not looking to do too much,” he said. “Just trying to keep it simple and help my team win. Great win, especially going after (Scherzer), the best pitcher in the game.”"
The opening frame against Scherzer, a former Diamondback traded away in 2009-2010 off-season, rewrote the Diamondbacks history book.
With consecutive home runs from David Peralta, Pollock and Lamb to the open the game, that was the first time in franchise history the Diamondbacks commenced a contest with three straight bombs. Plus, this was only the fifth time in the modern era that a team accomplished this feat, and the first occasion since the Baltimore Orioles in game one of a May 10, 2012 doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, equaled that mark.
Godley, the beneficiary of those three, first inning lightning strikes, told Venom Strikes he had never been the precipitant of three consecutive home runs to start a game.
"Arizona Diamondbacks: Approaching and playing on an even keel"
Major league debut
With Taijuan Walker on a three-day paternity list, Lovullo will turn to left-hander Anthony Banda to start Saturday’s game at home against the Washington Nationals.
After his start, Banda will return to Triple-A Reno, and Walker assumes his spot in the rotation. In 18 starts with Reno, Bando was 7-5 and a 5.08 ERA. On Saturday, the Nationals counter with righty Tanner Roark (7-6, 4.98).
Walker is slated to start his next game this Tuesday night at home against the Atlanta Braves.
In the series finale Sunday afternoon, look for lefty Robbie Ray (9-4, 297) to oppose Nats’ righty Stephen Strasburg (10-3, 3.21). Then, the Braves move in for three to conclude the current home stand.