The Arizona Diamondbacks won another heart-racing game, going from a 5-2 deficit in the 8th inning to taking the game 6-5 over the Philadelphia Phillies in game four of the National League Championship series. It was a pretty offensive-heavy game, so let's get into it.
Both teams deployed a bullpen strategy today. A total of 16 pitchers were used, and just one pitcher threw more than two innings. That was the opener for the Phillies, Cristopher Sanchez, who lasted just 2.1 innings. Joe Mantiply opened the game for the D-Backs but only threw one inning. Ryan Thompson ended up pitching the most for ARI, logging two innings in.
The Diamondbacks opened the scoring by taking advantage of some defensive miscues by the Phillies. Christian Walker led off the inning with a ground ball to third baseman Alec Bohm, but Bohm overshot Bryce Harper at first base, pulling him off the bag and letting Walker slide under an attempted tag. Tommy Pham then struck out on a 3-2 fastball on the corner, bringing up Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel bounced out to the pitcher, and while Sanchez had an opportunity to turn two, he instead just tossed the ball to first base, losing count of the outs, and letting Walker advance. This brought up Evan Longoria, and during Longo's at-bat, J.T. Realmuto allowed a passed ball to get by him. Longoria drew a walk, and then Emmanuel Rivera singled home Walker.
Another defensive miscue helped the D-Backs score again. Ketel Marte led off the inning in the third inning with a single. But a wild pitch helped Marte move to second base. While Corbin Carroll grounded out, Gabriel Moreno drove in Marte for the second run of the game for Arizona, giving them a 2-0 lead at this point.
But the Phillies weren't going down without any fight. The always-dangerous power-hitting Kyle Schwarber, who has come up with many big hits in big games, hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning. The Phils tied the game up in the 5th with a single from Realmuto, a Nick Castellanos sac ground ball, then a double from Brandon Marsh.
Things nearly got out of hand in the 6th inning. Andrew Saalfrank took the mound and handed out three straight walks to start the inning. Bohm then came up and hit a chopper to Rivera, who attempted a throw home, but the throw was low, eating Moreno up and scoring two runs.
The Phillies tagged on one more run in the 7th inning on a Turner sac-fly, giving them a three run lead at 5-2.
The D-Backs threatened again in the 7th inning, loading the bases via a Perdomo single and walks to Marte and Moreno. With two outs and bases loaded, Walker drew another walk, scoring one run. However, despite the opportunity to score more, Pavin Smith grounded out to Harper at first base, ending the inning and the potential rally. But it brought the Diamondbacks a run closer at 5-3.
Coming in the 8th inning was veteran Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel, who has historically struggled as a set-up man over a closer role, blew a two-run lead and his second blown outing in as many games. Gurriel got the inning started with a double. While Longoria could not come up with anything, Alek Thomas, one of the heroes from last night's game three thriller, came in to pinch-hit for Tommy Pham. Thomas smacked a game-tying two-run home run into the right-center field pool.
Arizona took the lead later in the inning, as Marte singled after a Perdomo strikeout, and Carroll got hit by a pitch. Kimbrel was still in the game at this point but was pulled after the HBP, with Jose Alvarado taking over to clean up Kimbrel's mess. Fortunately for the D-Backs, they weren't done. Moreno then came up and drove a liner into center field, giving the D-Backs the lead once again at 6-5, and for the final time.
Paul Sewald came in to close things out. While he allowed a double to Kyle Schwarber, it was the only blip on the map, as he struck out Brandon Marsh, Jake Cave, and then Trea Turner for the final out, capping off another electric game for the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks and Phillies are now tied at two games a piece in the National League Championship Series. Game five of the NLCS will start at 8 PM Eastern time in Arizona. It will be a battle of aces for the two teams, as the Diamondbacks will send out Zac Gallen for redemption after a rough first game. Zack Wheeler will take the mound for the Phillies, looking to continue his Postseason dominance.