Diamondbacks Shoot Selves in Foot, Suffer Crushing Loss to Reds in Extras

Elly De La Cruz of the Reds tagging out a diving Geraldo Perdomo of the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Reds 8, Diamondbacks 7 (11 innings)

PHOENIX, Aug. 26 — The Arizona Diamondbacks held a two-run lead over the Cincinnati Reds entering the ninth inning, but instead of hearing “D-Backs Swing” when the game ended, they may as well have played Lit’s 1999 hit song “My Own Worst Enemy.” Seven Reds runs over the final four innings — with the winning run scoring on a balk — led them to a crucial 8–7 victory over the Diamondbacks in 11 innings Saturday, clinching the season series for the Reds in what might prove to be a tiebreaker for the third wild card spot in the National League.

The loss spoiled a strong outing from starting pitcher Zach Davies, who returned from the injured list to pitch his first game since July 18. Davies pitched five innings, allowing one run on five hits — including a solo homer to lead off the sixth — while walking two and striking out five. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Davies was “fantastic.” Davies said everything felt good. As far as his performance, he said, “I was happy with being able to make pitches when I needed to, the command of the ball, going out there and competing. Coming up with some injuries and struggles early in the year, I felt like it was harder to compete, make pitches, and give us a quality start. This time around, I felt a lot better, aggressive in the zone, attacking hitters, and trying to make things happen as opposed to letting the ballgame decide itself.”

Missed Opportunities

The Diamondbacks left four runners in scoring position. Outside of the three-run fifth and the three-run tenth — an inning that got a boost from a Reds error — they did little offensively. In addition, a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo immediately went up in smoke as Perdomo was gunned down at second by about five feet while trying to stretch the routine single into a double.

Diamondbacks Take Comfortable Lead over Reds

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Davies pitched around a one-out single by second baseman Matt McLain in the top of the first, stranding him with a strikeout and infield popup. Diamondbacks right fielder Corbin Carroll, on his bobblehead night, led off the bottom half with a triple to the right-field corner off Fernando Cruz. Strikeouts by second baseman Ketel Marte and designated hitter Tommy Pham threatened to strand Carroll, but a passed ball brought Carroll across. This came during the at-bat of first baseman Christian Walker, who ultimately struck out to end the inning.

The Diamondbacks extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth off Ben Lively, who entered the game in the third. A leadoff single to left by catcher Jose Herrera and one-out single to left by Carroll put runners on second and third for Marte. On the first pitch, Marte drilled a 418-foot drive to the right-field bleachers. His 100th career homer made it a 4–0 game. After Pham struck out looking, Walker ripped a triple to right-center. The Diamondbacks could not capitalize, however. A fly to center by left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. ended the inning.

Meanwhile, Davies — who had taken 73 pitches to toss five scoreless innings — took the mound for the sixth. A leadoff homer by McLain put the Reds on the board. When shortstop Elly De La Cruz followed with a walk, Davies was done for the night. The crowd of 34,028 gave Davies a standing ovation as he left the field.

Overtaxed Relievers Struggle

In came Scott McGough, who promptly walked left fielder Spencer Steer. Designated hitter Nick Martini grounded into a 4–6 force play, putting runners on the corners with one out for first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand. He walked, loading the bases for third baseman Noelvi Marte. On 0–1, Marte hit a one-hopper to Walker, who whipped it to second. It began a side-retiring 3–4–1 double play, with McGough hustling to the bag to catch the return throw.

The rough inning was a sign of things to come for the Diamondbacks and their overtaxed relief corps, despite Kyle Nelson pitching a 1-2-3 seventh. Setup man Kevin Ginkel took the hill for the eighth and started well, striking out McLain, but a one-out walk of De La Cruz ultimately proved costly. A fly to the warning track by Steer made for the second out, but De La Cruz — upon noticing how deep the fly was — tagged up and advanced to second before Alek Thomas’ long throw arrived. As Martini batted, De La Cruz stole third uncontested. Martini ultimately singled, scoring De La Cruz to cut the deficit to 4–2.

Reds Capitalize on Command Issues

The Diamondbacks failed to tack on in the bottom of the seventh due to the Perdomo baserunning miscue. They also did not tack on in the eighth, as a one-out single by Walker got erased by a follow-up 6-4-3 double play groundout by Gurriel. Still, they held a two-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth with Paul Sewald taking the hill. Since joining the Diamondbacks, eight of his nine appearances were scoreless. A leadoff walk to Marte brought up right fielder Will Benson. After Marte stole second, Benson flied to right, allowing Marte to tag up and advance to third. Catcher Tyler Stephenson plated Marte with a double to the right-field corner. Center fielder TJ Friedl singled to right, but a strong throw home from Carroll held Stephenson at third. Friedl alertly took second on the throw home, taking away the double play.

To each of those hitters, Sewald fell behind in the count on the very first pitch. Marte had ended up walking after a 1–2 count, with each of the three subsequent balls missing well out of the zone. Sewald also threw a ball on the first pitch to Benson. Marte stole second on the next pitch, which was also a ball. Benson put the ball in play on a 2–1 count. Stephenson’s double came on 3–2, but that was after Sewald fell behind 3–0. Friedl singled on 2–2, but the at-bat began 2–0.

Mantiply Puts Out Fire

With the infield in for a potential play at the plate, Sewald finally threw a first-pitch strike to McLain. McLain grounded the second pitch to Marte, but it was hit too slowly for Marte to throw Michael Siani out at home. Instead, he took the sure out at first, and the game was tied. Joe Mantiply took over for Sewald to face De La Cruz, who belted a deep fly to left. Gurriel grabbed it with his back against the wall to retire the side and preserve the 4–4 tie.

The Diamondbacks went down meekly in the bottom of the ninth. Thomas leaned over to hit an end-of-the-bat chopper toward second. Lively jumped and snatched the ball to prevent a close play at first, retiring Thomas in plenty of time. Ian Gibaut entered to pitch, striking out third baseman Jace Peterson and retiring Herrera on a fly to right. This sent the game to extra innings.

Diamondbacks, Reds Trade Blows in Tenth

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Miguel Castro took the mound for the top of the tenth. Seven of his previous nine appearances were scoreless, but he gave up four runs in each of the other two, only recording four outs combined in the process. Saturday’s version of Castro was the cold one. The first two batters he faced — Steer and Martini — both doubled. Steer drove in the automatic runner, while Martini plated Steer, and the Reds held a 6–4 lead after only two batters. TJ Hopkins ran for Martini and also scored, as Encarnacion-Strand singled him home. Exit stage right for Castro, who failed to record an out.

In came Nabil Crismatt to stop the bleeding. Noelvi Marte welcomed him with a ground-rule double, advancing Encarnacion-Strand to third, but Crismatt settled down afterwards. He struck out Benson for the first out and got Stephenson to hit a comebacker. Encarnacion-Strand was going on contact, so Crismatt threw home to retire him by several feet. Friedl followed with a grounder to second, retiring the side with the Reds holding a 7–4 lead.

It looked bleak for the Diamondbacks as they came to bat in the bottom of the tenth, for the Reds had brought in closer extraordinaire Alexis Diaz. Herrera took second as the automatic runner as Perdomo dug in. Perdomo singled to right-center, cutting the deficit to 7–5 as Herrera scored. Carroll walked, putting runners on first and second with nobody out for Ketel Marte. A popup into shallow right kept the runners where they were. When Pham followed with a routine grounder to second, the Reds appeared primed to turn a game-ending double play. But the ball went right between McLain’s legs, scoring Perdomo and giving the Diamondbacks a lifeline.

Leaving More on the Table

Up came Walker with the tying run 90 feet away in the form of Carroll and the winning run on first in the form of Pham. Pham stole second, putting the winning run in scoring position. Walker cracked an end-of-the-bat fly to right-center. Friedl made the catch, but it was plenty deep enough for Carroll to sprint home and tie the game. On the play, Pham hustled into third, putting the winning run 90 feet away. Gurriel could not capitalize, ending the inning with a strikeout.

The Fateful Eleventh

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Crismatt returned to the mound in the 11th and got off to a great start, whiffing McLain and retiring De La Cruz on a fly to center. Steer hit a grounder to third, but it came off the end of the bat and was too slow for Peterson to make a play. With runners now on the corners, Hopkins dug in. On 0–2, Crismatt started to bring his hands together but stopped mid-motion and returned his right arm to his side.


Freidl waltzed home with the go-ahead run as Steer advanced to second. Hopkins struck out looking, but the Reds now held an 8–7 lead without the ball leaving the infield.

Going Out with a Whimper

Thomas led off the bottom half against new pitcher Lucas Sims with a sacrifice bunt, advancing the automatic runner (Gurriel) to third for Peterson and Herrera. Peterson was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the game despite his two-triple performance the night before. Lovullo did not pinch-hit, despite having Evan Longoria on the bench. “Jace was on the heels of last night having a huge night big RBIs and, and I felt like the momentum was was pushing in a very positive direction for him,” Lovullo said, adding that he liked the matchup of a left-handed hitter — Peterson, in this case — against the right-handed Sims.

Peterson struck out, his fourth of the night, bringing up Herrera with two out. The switch-hitting Herrera was 1-for-4 at the time, bringing his average up to .216. Gabriel Moreno — batting .286 on the season and .378 since returning from injury August 13 — was available to pinch-hit, despite having the night off. But Lovullo felt that Herrera “had some decent swings today” and “hit the ball hard a couple times,” so he felt that Herrera was going to have a good at-bat. Despite working the count to 2–2, Herrera swung and missed for strike three, giving the Reds a thrilling victory and the Diamondbacks a gut-punch of a loss.

Looking Ahead

Diaz (6–4), despite his blown save, got the win, while Crismatt (0–2) took the tough loss. Sims notched his third save of the season. The Diamondbacks (68–62) and Reds (68–63) conclude their four-game series Sunday afternoon. Diamondbacks rookie Slade Cecconi (0–0, 2.93 ERA) will take the mound against Graham Ashcraft (7–8, 4.84 ERA) of the Reds in a battle of righties. First pitch will be at 1:10 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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