December 9, 2022

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'It's going to be a nice plane ride': D-backs walk off in 10th

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PHOENIX — The D-backs were happy following their 3-2 walk-off win over the Astros in 10 innings Wednesday afternoon, but they were also exhausted — mentally more than physically.

It’s been a long, grinding opening six-game homestand for the D-backs, who walked off with a win over the Padres on Opening Day and then against the Astros. In between? There was an offense that put a lot of runners on base via walks but couldn’t quite get them home.

“That was a grinding win, a grinding game, and I hope that these guys are all emotionally exhausted, because from what it looked like, they were invested, they were engaged and they were doing everything they possibly could to have the type of outcome that they had,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We talked about winning a grinding baseball game and how it feels good for these guys because of how bad they wanted it.”

The D-backs had good approaches at the plate and put together good at-bats throughout the homestand, drawing 33 walks, but with runners in scoring position, they were just 4-for-35, including a 1-for-13 performance Wednesday.

After leading 1-0 through much of the game, the D-backs watched the Astros tie it with a run in the seventh and then go ahead with a run in the 10th.

The D-backs managed to score a pair in the bottom of the 10th, with Seth Beer, who walked off the Padres with a three-run homer Thursday, delivering the game-tying single and then Ketel Marte driving home the winner with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to left.

The D-backs boarded their charter flight to New York after the game and will open a seven-game road trip Friday at Citi Field against the Mets.

“It’s going to be a nice plane ride for all of us cross country,” Lovullo said.

While a 2-4 homestand isn’t great, it sure beats a 1-5 one followed by a late-night flight.

“It’s way better,” said D-backs DH Cooper Hummel, who was on base five times. “I’ve been sitting on a bus or plane after a loss, and it’s no fun. But after a win like that and going into New York and facing a very good Mets team? It puts us in the right spot going forward.”

What would really put the D-backs in a better place would be scoring multiple runs in an inning — something that only happened three times on the homestand.

“I think I looked at the scoreboard in the ninth, and we had 13 runners left on base,” Hummel said. “You know, obviously timely hitting is everything in this game. Our hitters are doing the right thing getting on base, we’re finding a way. It’s just a matter of time before those hits come at the right time. It’s going to happen, and we’re going to be in a really good spot.”

Lovullo, as he often does, went with a boxing analogy.

“There’s about two or three punches we’ve got to throw at one time, and we’ve got to land them all before we start putting up some crooked numbers,” he said. “But you know, I think we’re delivering some body blows and we’re getting runners on base, and eventually someone’s going to slug at the right time and we’re going to score some runs.”

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