October 5, 2022

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Peralta's offseason work pays off with game-winning homer

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Two-run blast in 8th inning was veteran's 100th career long ball
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PHOENIX — When D-backs outfielder David Peralta asked Michael Brantley for help with his swing in the offseason, he told him he wanted to start from zero.

“Whatever you tell me, I’m going to trust you,” Peralta told Brantley, an outfielder with the Astros. “Because that’s the mentality this has to be. I have to trust you.”

Brantley reworked Peralta’s mechanics at the plate and every ball he hit during Spring Training seemed to be hit hard, with five of his 10 hits going for homers and another three for doubles.

But until his two-run homer in the eighth inning that led the D-backs past the Dodgers, 5-3, on Tuesday night, Peralta had not had the same success during the regular season.

When he got frustrated, Peralta remembered what Brantley told him during those long winter days.

“This is all new for you,” Peralta said Brantley told him. “There’s going to be ups and downs, but you have to keep trusting it, you’ve got to keep working at it. There are going to be times when you’re going to do great, but that’s not always going to be the case. So if you have some bad games and you feel a little off, don’t panic and think you have to change everything.”

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo has not been shy this year about moving guys down in the lineup or even taking them out of the lineup altogether if they’re not getting it done.

But when it came to Peralta, Lovullo saw something that made him decide to keep Peralta in the No. 3 hole in the lineup on an almost everyday basis.

“I wanted to give him the opportunity to show us what he could do,” Lovullo said. “He’s got a very, very good approach. He just hasn’t gotten off to a great sizzling start. He’s shown moments and flashes of staying on the ball and getting some base hits.”

In Monday night’s 4-0 loss to the Dodgers, Peralta came up to the plate with two outs in the ninth against Walker Buehler, who had been dominating Arizona hitters throughout the game.

Peralta, though, managed to battle and line a single to right.

“I thought yesterday’s ninth-inning at-bat was a pretty good at-bat for him,” Lovullo said. “He got a base hit with two outs. And it was just the intensity through the entire at-bat I thought was there, the focus was there. And I told myself, ‘That’s still a very engaged player that’s doing things right.’”

Overall, Tuesday was a good night for Peralta. He doubled in the first inning and then on defense he got a good jump on a line drive off the bat of Mookie Betts. Peralta caught it and was able to double Chris Taylor off second base.

Then he came to the plate in the eighth after Cooper Hummel led off the frame with a walk against Brusdar Graterol.

“To be honest, I just told myself to slow the game down and I was just breathing,” Peralta said. “I wasn’t looking for anything specific. I was just trying to just make good contact and I was on time and put a good swing on it.”

The homer was the 100th of Peralta’s career and it gave the D-backs a much-needed boost.

“One hundred is good, but even better is a winning home run,” Peralta said. “Just something great for the team.”

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