Diamondbacks Rally Twice, Top Rangers in Extra-inning Thriller

The Diamondbacks celebrating their walk-off win over the Rangers
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 3 (11 innings)

PHOENIX, Aug. 21 — A pair of rallies, one with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the other with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, saw the Arizona Diamondbacks snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a thrilling 4–3 victory over the Texas Rangers Monday night. Second baseman Ketel Marte belted a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth off Aroldis Chapman to tie the game. After the Rangers scored two in the top of the 11th, a one-run double by third baseman Geraldo Perdomo and a two-run walk-off double by left fielder Tommy Pham — both with two outs — won the game for the home nine.

“That was a pretty emotional team win and a great team moment there,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “…we didn’t particularly play our best game early, but we kept fighting. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about this team — they fight and compete.”

The comeback spoiled a dominant outing by Rangers starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who scattered four hits across eight scoreless innings, walking one while striking out six. Only one Diamondback reached second base against Montgomery, and he did so thanks to a passed ball by catcher Jonah Heim.

Diamondbacks, Rangers Trade Zeroes

The Diamondbacks used an opener, lefty reliever Joe Mantiply. He gave up a single to second baseman Marcus Semien before forcing two straight grounders to second by shortstop Corey Seager and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe. In both cases, the play was slow to develop, so the relay from second was too late to get a double play. In came righty Scott McGough, who struck out right fielder Adolis Garcia to retire the side. McGough pitched a 1-2-3 second, striking out designated hitter Mitch Garver and left fielder Robbie Grossman before retiring Heim on a fly to left.

Montgomery faced the minimum across the first three innings despite a one-out walk to third baseman Buddy Kennedy in the first. He induced the next hitter — Pham — to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Montgomery struck out first baseman Christian Walker for the first out of the second. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. lined to center for the second out. For the last out of the second and all three of the third, Montgomery induced groundouts.

Cecconi Terrific, but Rangers Take Lead

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Rookie Slade Cecconi took the mound for the Diamondbacks in the top of the third and put up a valiant effort. After third baseman Ezequiel Duran lined to right, center fielder Leody Taveras doubled to the right-field corner. A sinking liner to left by Semien dropped for a hit, advancing Taveras to third. Cecconi got out of it by striking out Seager and retiring Lowe on a fly to center. He lasted five innings, scattering three hits while fanning two. But one of the three hits was a tall solo homer to the picnic area in left-center by Garcia, Cecconi’s lone run allowed.

Montgomery, meanwhile, tossed five more innings. The four hits he allowed were all singles. Two of those runners were erased by subsequent double-play groundouts. One — Marte, who led off the fourth with a single — reached second on a passed ball, as mentioned earlier. The fourth was stranded on first.

According to Lovullo, what made Montgomery effective was sequencing his two-seam fastball and changeup differently than he usually does. And once it was working, “he didn’t come off it.” Lovullo said the team needed to make a quicker adjustment but didn’t.

Tying It Up

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Justin Martinez took over for Cecconi in the top of the eighth. He struck out Duran before walking Taveras. The inning got interesting when Martinez tried to pick Taveras off first but sailed the throw high and wide toward the right-field side of the bag. This allowed Taveras to advance to third. Martinez recovered, locking up Semien on a called strikeout before retiring Seager on a fly to left. Miguel Castro pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Diamondbacks, keeping the deficit at one as the game headed into the bottom of the ninth.

Despite Montgomery being at 92 pitches, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy brought in setup man Aroldis Chapman — fully rested, as Bochy told reporters after the game — to close out the game in the ninth. Chapman whiffed center fielder Alek Thomas for the first out, bringing up Marte. Marte unloaded on the first pitch, a splitter that Chapman left up in the zone. It soared high into the air, settling into the fourth row of the left-field bleachers to tie the game.

A Scoreless Tenth…

A 1-2-3 top of the 10th by Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald held the 1–1 tie. Chapman responded in kind in the bottom of the tenth, although he intentionally walked Gurriel with one out to set up a potential double-play grounder. It was not needed, as Jace Peterson — who ran for designated hitter Evan Longoria in the bottom of the eighth — flied to left before catcher Gabriel Moreno struck out to end the inning.

…Gives Way to a Wild Eleventh

Kevin Ginkel came on to pitch the 11th for the Diamondbacks as Duran took second base as the automatic runner. Taveras led off with a strikeout, Duran holding at second despite Moreno having to block the pitch and throw to first to complete the play. A grounder to second by Semien advanced Duran to third. With two outs, the Diamondbacks intentionally walked Seager to establish a force at second. Seager stole second uncontested as Lowe batted. Lowe ultimately hit a sinking liner to left. Gurriel, charging in hard, dove but could not make the catch. After the ball dropped, Gurriel stuck his glove up,  batting the ball down in front of him. Both runners scored as Lowe coasted into second, but by Gurriel batting the ball down, this prevented further damage. Ginkel fanned Garcia to retire the side with the Rangers leading, 3–1.

Will Smith took the mound in the bottom of the 11th with a save opportunity. Moreno took second as the automatic runner as shortstop Nick Ahmed dug in. A fly to right made the first out but advanced Moreno to third. Up came Corbin Carroll to pinch-hit for Thomas, the crowd roaring as he headed to the plate. His foul popup to the catcher made for the second out, bringing up Marte as the last hope. Bochy wanted nothing to do with Marte, so despite him being the tying run, the Rangers intentionally walked him. That brought up Perdomo, who entered the game in the 10th as a defensive replacement. He ripped a double into the right-field corner, scoring Moreno and advancing Marte to third.

The Winning Hit

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Up came Pham, 0-for-4 on the day with a strikeout and a double-play groundout. The fourth pitch was a batting-practice fastball right down the middle. Pham stroked it into the gap in right-center. The crowd exploded as the ball landed. Marte scored easily with Perdomo sprinting in right behind him for the winning run on Pham’s dramatic walk-off double.

The Diamondbacks, with their double rally, became the first team to score off both parts of the Rangers’ two-headed late-inning monster, Chapman and Smith. This was also, out of 17 appearances since joining the Rangers, only the second appearance for Chapman where he allowed any runs.

To Lovullo, these accomplishments mean “that we have that extra ingredient that says we don’t stop. We compete, despite some pretty tough circumstances. We’ve walked through some tough, tough days, and we’re slowly coming out the other end. It means we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re going out there and competing, even down to our final out. I’m proud of these guys.”

Looking Ahead

Ginkel (7–0) earned the win in relief, while Smith (1–5) took the dreaded blown save-loss combo. The Diamondbacks (65–61) and Rangers (72–53) close out their two-game series Tuesday night, with the Diamondbacks a half-game out of the third NL Wild Card and the Rangers nursing a 1.5-game lead over the Houston Astros in the AL West. Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen (13–5, 3.17 ERA) will face Jon Gray (8–6, 3.52 ERA) of the Rangers in a battle of right-handers. First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time (8:40 pm Central).

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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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