Gurriel Double Gives Diamondbacks Walk-off Victory over Giants

Christian Walker of the Diamondbacks celebrates after sliding home with the winning run against the Giants.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1

PHOENIX, May 14 — Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. lined a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Christian Walker from first to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a dramatic 2–1 victory over the San Francisco Giants Sunday afternoon.

The double capped off a pitchers’ duel between Diamondbacks rookie Brandon Pfaadt and Logan Webb of the Giants. Pfaadt tossed five innings, walking three and striking out five while giving up one run. That run came on the lone hit he allowed, which was a solo home run by Giants right fielder Michael Conforto. Webb, in seven innings, allowed one run on three hits, striking out three while walking three and hitting a batter. Jose Ruiz, Scott McGough, and Miguel Castro combined to pitch four innings of scoreless relief, with a hit off Ruiz and another off McGough being the only baserunners the Giants could muster.

“You’re always looking for young players to grasp concepts as they need to make some adjustments. Continue to learn and grow, trust the coaching, and then push forward. See how it goes, get the response, and keep pushing the next time,” manager Torey Lovullo stated after the game with pride in his voice. “Brandon Pfaadt’s outing today is a perfect example of all the things that we believe in. Preparation. Trust. Commitment. He stayed with the plan and sequenced his pitches very well. Fastball command was much improved, and he got us through five innings. If there wasn’t a hiccup with the 10-to-11-pitch at-bat to Conforto, I may have pushed him through six. But overall, I felt like 80-plus pitches, he had done his job. Lovullo also praised the relievers, calling their effort “fantastic.”

Diamondbacks, Giants Offenses Both Held at Bay

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Pfaadt and Webb traded zeroes through the first three innings. With one out in the top of the fourth, Pfaadt took the first crack in the armor, as right fielder Michael Conforto smacked a homer into the right-field bleachers.  The Diamondbacks counterpunched in the bottom of the fifth, and it started with a one-out infield single by catcher Gabriel Moreno. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo grounded into a 3–6 force play, beating the relay to avoid a double play. That paid off when third baseman Josh Rojas doubled to right, scoring Perdomo with the tying run.

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The game remained knotted at one through the sixth and seventh thanks to two scoreless frames from both Diamondbacks reliever Jose Ruiz and from Webb. Scott McGough pitched a scoreless eighth for the Diamondbacks, as did Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the eighth for the Giants. Castro followed suit in the top of the ninth, doing so in 1–2–3 fashion. Rogers stayed on the mound for the bottom of the ninth. First to face him was Walker, who walked. Gurriel brought him home with a double to the left field corner, jumping for joy as a mob of his jubilant teammates met him between second and third.

To Pinch-run or Not to Pinch-run

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Lovullo tossed up the idea to pinch-run for Walker after he reached base in the ninth. “I was kind of kicking myself for not pinch-running there,” Lovullo admitted, “but I committed to pinch-run for him once he got to second base.” He went on to say that if there were a gapper and Walker didn’t end up scoring, he’d never forgive himself. “But he’s got great instincts,” Lovullo continued. “He makes up for not being as fast as someone like Alek Thomas by having good instincts, and he does a great job.”

Lovullo pointed out the flip side of the argument as well after saying Walker definitely would have come out for a runner if they were down one. “But you don’t want to lose thump in your lineup, and nothing against the guys that would have replaced Christian, but they’re not Christian Walker. So I committed to second base.”

“I Trust His Instincts”

Walker, it was pointed out to Lovullo, is fourth in the National League in Extra Bases Taken, which records how many times a baserunner advances more bases than the batter. The only players ahead of him are Ha-Seong Kim, Trea Turner, and Alex Call. When he learned this and was asked if this backs up his decision, Lovullo said with a huge smile, “A little bit…. I was playing a little bit of fire if it came out that we had a gapper and didn’t score, I knew that.

“But I trust his instincts and his eye for the baseball. He can get good reads and can make up for what is not going to be overall foot speed by gaining a foot and a half or two by seeing it a little bit quicker than most people would. So it was risky. But with him at first base, I didn’t want Lourdes ground into a double play and wham! We don’t have our best one of our best run producers in the lineup anymore.”

Quick Hits

Jose Ruiz struck out the side on 11 pitches in the seventh, missing an immaculate inning by two pitches. … Catcher Gabriel Moreno had the only multi-hit day for the Diamondbacks, going 2-for-3 with a stolen base. … Giants second baseman Thairo Estrada also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles. … Both Diamondbacks runs came when a runner scored from first on a double. That is the 12th time out of 23 chances in 2023 that a Diamondback has scored from first on a double.

Looking Ahead

Castro notched the win while Rogers took the loss, both in relief. Both the Diamondbacks (23–18, second in NL West) and Giants (17–23, fourth in NL West) head to the Bay Area Sunday evening. The Giants are heading home to face the Philadelphia Phillies (20–20, second in NL East) in a three-gamer. Alex Wood (0–0, 2.45 ERA) will take the hill for the Giants Monday against Bailey Falter (0–6, 5.75 ERA) for the Phillies in a battle of left-handers. First pitch will be at 6:45 pm Pacific.

The Diamondbacks have a three-game road series against the hapless Oakland Athletics (9–33, fifth in AL West), also starting Monday night. Right-hander Merrill Kelly (3–3, 3.18 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Diamondbacks against Athletics right-hander Drew Rucinski (0–3, 8.16 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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