2023 NLCS: Marte the Walk-off Hero as Diamondbacks Edge Phillies

Diamondbacks players pouring onto the field to celebrate Ketel Marte's game-winning single in Game Three of the 2023 NLCS against the Phillies
(Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

Diamondbacks 2, Phillies 1; Phillies Lead Series, 2–1

PHOENIX, Oct. 19 — For the first time since 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks have won a game in the National League Championship Series. And they did so in the same way 2001 ended for the Diamondbacks — a walk-off single with the bases loaded. This time, the hero was Ketel Marte, whose single to center brought in Pavin Smith for a 2–1 Diamondbacks victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Three of the 2023 NLCS. Marte went 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles.

Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt allowed two hits, striking out nine and walking none while tossing a scoreless no-decision. “(Pfaadt) did a nice job. He threw strikes, mixed his pitches well, (and) kept us off balance,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson. “Brandon was unbelievable,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo added. “(He) threw the baseball as well as you possibly could have hoped or imagined. Once again, it’s a young kid stepping into a huge environment and executing at a very high level.”

Phillies lefty Ranger Suarez allowed no runs on three hits while walking one and striking out seven, also in a no-decision. Suarez said through team interpreter Diego Ettedgui that he was locating his pitches well. He added that his changeup was also effective for him, something that he had been working on in his throwing program.

Trading Zeroes

Embed from Getty Images

Of the 13 batters he faced through the first four, Pfaadt struck out seven. Ultimately, he faced 18 batters, taking 5 2/3 innings to do so. When Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo came to get him, boos bellowed through Chase Field before Pfaadt received a hero’s ovation. Andrew Saalfrank, after walking Schwarber, got Turner to ground into a 5–4 force play to retire the side.

Lovullo said after the game that the decision to pull Pfaadt when he did came after much consideration with pitching coach Brent Strom and bench coach Jeff Banister. “I’m asking them if the manager is an idiot after taking him out after five and two-third,” Lovullo admitted after the game with a laugh. Of the booing, he said, “I’m sure I was the most unpopular guy in the City of Phoenix, in the downtown area, and maybe in the entire state of Arizona.” Later, he admitted that he would have booed himself if he was sitting in the stands. “The manager has lost his absolute mind. Yeah, I was booing myself as I walked out to the mound. I didn’t need to be in the stands.”

Suarez also lasted into the sixth, facing 20 hitters in 5 1/3 innings. He opened the seventh by coughing up a double to left-center by Marte, Marte’s second of the game. After center fielder Corbin Carroll grounded out, Thomson took the ball from Suarez and gave it to Jeff Hoffman, who struck out catcher Gabriel Moreno before an inning-ending grounder to short by first baseman Christian Walker.

Diamondbacks, Phillies Trade Blows

Embed from Getty Images

Saalfrank returned to the mound for the seventh, beginning by walking first baseman Bryce Harper. In came side-armer Ryan Thompson, who got third baseman Alec Bohm to hit a slow cue shot off the end of the bat. It was too slow for the charging Emmanuel Rivera to have any play, bringing up second baseman Bryson Stott with runners on first and second and nobody out. The Diamondbacks breathed a huge sigh of relief when Stott hit a hard grounder to short. Geraldo Perdomo scooped it up, stepped on the bag at second, and fired to first for a crucial double play. That brought up catcher J.T. Realmuto. During the at-bat, one in which Realmuto ultimately struck out, Thompson threw a slider that broke past the reach of Moreno. The wild pitch allowed Harper to score and give the Phillies a 1–0 lead.

Orion Kerkering took the mound to pitch the bottom of the seventh. Right fielder Tommy Pham welcomed him with a single to right. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. followed with a double down the left-field line, scoring pinch-runner Alek Thomas from first to tie the game. When Pavin Smith, pinch-hitting for designated hitter Evan Longoria, advanced Gurriel to third on a single to right, Kerkering left the game without having recorded an out.

In came Jose Alvarado with a mess on his hands, runners on the corners with one out and third baseman Emmanuel Rivera at the plate. On the second pitch, he grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with Gurriel unable to advance. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo grounded the next pitch back to the mound to end the inning and squander an opportunity to take the lead.

Walking It Off

Embed from Getty Images

Kevin Ginkel pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth to keep the score tied. The Diamondbacks had a scoring chance in the bottom of the eighth after a two-out double by Moreno and intentional walk to Walker. However, Thomas couldn’t capitalize, instead hitting an inning-ending grounder to second.

Paul Sewald took the hill for the ninth. His only blemish was a two-out walk to Harper, who later stole second. But it went for naught when Bohm struck out looking, ending the frame.

In came Craig Kimbrel to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr led off with a walk. As Smith batted, Gurriel stole second. Gurriel advanced to third when Smith hit a grounder to the right side. Gurriel might have scored had Stott not made a diving stop. Smith beat Stott’s throw for an infield single, putting runners on the corners for Rivera. Against a drawn-in infield, Rivera smashed a sharp grounder straight to Turner at short. Gurriel broke for home on contact, where a strong and accurate throw by Turner retired him. With runners now on first and second with one out, Perdomo drew a walk. This loaded the bases for Marte. On 0–1, he punched a high fastball into right-center for a single, plating Smith and setting off a wild celebration.

Quick Hits

The last time the Diamondbacks won an NLCS game, Randy Johnson defeated Tom Glavine and gave up a home run to Julio Franco. Johnson retired 14 years ago, Glavine retired 15 years ago, and Franco is 65 years old. (Thanks to Jayson Stark for this info, which came from his column in The Athletic after Game One.) … Pfaadt is the first pitcher in postseason history to allow no runs and no walks in consecutive starts. He also notched the second-highest strikeout total by a rookie in a postseason game in which he allowed no walks (Don Newcombe, 1949 World Series Game One, 11) … Marte has a 12-game hitting streak to start his postseason career. Only Marquis Grissom (1995-96, 15) and Greg Luzinski (1976-80, 13) have started theirs with a longer streak. (Info courtesy of Sarah Langs via Twitter)

Ranger Suarez now has a 0.94 postseason ERA across his first eight career postseason starts (min. 20 IP). It is the lowest in such a stretch in major league history, narrowly beating Sandy Koufax (0.95). … The Phillies as a team have a 1.47 ERA this postseason. That is the second-lowest in the first nine games of a single postseason in major league history. First place is the 1983 Baltimore Orioles, with 1.10. … This walk-off win for the Diamondbacks is the third in their postseason history. The other two were Game Five of the 2001 NLDS against the St Louis Cardinals and Game Seven of the 2001 World Series against the New York Yankees. (Info courtesy of Langs.)

Looking Ahead

Sewald earned the win, while Kimbrel took the loss, both in relief. The Diamondbacks and Phillies will play Game Four Friday at 5:07 pm Arizona Time (8:07 pm Eastern). Left-handed Diamondbacks reliever Joe Mantiply will start against Phillies lefty Cristopher Sanchez. The game will be shown on TBS and streamed on Max.

See Also:

Game Three Pregame Manager Notes

Main Photo Credits:

PHOENIX (Oct. 19) — Members of the Arizona Diamondbacks pour onto the field in celebration of Ketel Marte’s game-winning bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth. The hit gave the Diamondbacks a 2–1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Three of the 2023 NLCS. (Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

Share "2023 NLCS: Marte the Walk-off Hero as Diamondbacks Edge Phillies" on social media:
More General Baseball News
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.

Order Evan's book at store.bookbaby.com
Follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_m_thompson
Support Evan on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=81411994

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *