VanMeter, Cabrera Power Diamondbacks to Extra-Inning Win over Dodgers

Diamondbacks Dodgers

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 5 (10)

PHOENIX, July 30 — It was a long day for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Having already traded the beloved Eduardo Escobar, they entered deadline day wondering if anyone else was leaving. Only Joakim Soria did, but they also lost the use of five players due to either COVID or the contact tracing protocol. They still had a game to play, however. After four and a half hours, another beloved veteran — Asdrubal Cabrera, someone mentioned in trade rumors — drove in the winning run with a 10th-inning double, leading the Diamondbacks to a 6–5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Josh VanMeter added three doubles to the winning cause, the first Diamondback to hit that many in a game since Paul Goldschmidt in 2018.

Diamondbacks Take Advantage of Control Problems to Take Lead over Dodgers

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the bottom of the second off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin. He walked catcher Carson Kelly, left fielder David Peralta, and center fielder Daulton Varsho. A strikeout by pitcher Zac Gallen brought VanMeter — the second baseman — to the plate with two out, trying to keep the opportunity from going to waste. He delivered with the first Diamondbacks hit of the day — a double to the right-field corner that scored both Kelly and Peralta for a 2–0 lead.

A two-out RBI single by Cabrera — the third baseman — made it a 3–0 game in the bottom of the fourth. This scored shortstop Nick Ahmed, who had singled and stolen second. The Diamondbacks had a golden opportunity to make it a 4–0 game in the bottom of the fifth after a leadoff double by first baseman Christian Walker. After Kelly walked, a soft grounder to the pitcher by left fielder David Peralta advanced the runners to second and third. A comebacker to the pitcher by Ahmed turned into a 1–2 putout as Walker attempted to score.

Dodgers Narrow Gap, Diamondbacks Get One Back

The Dodgers capitalized on the Diamondbacks’ missed opportunity in the top of the sixth as Gallen faded. A leadoff home run by second baseman Chris Taylor put the Dodgers on the board. First baseman Max Muncy followed with a single, as did third baseman Justin Turner and shortstop Corey Seager. Up came catcher Will Smith with the bases juiced. He struck out, but a follow-up sacrifice fly by left fielder AJ Pollock made the score 3–2.

The Diamondbacks made it 5–2 in the bottom of the sixth. A leadoff single by pinch-hitter and major league debutant Drew Ellis brought up VanMeter, who drove Ellis in with a double. After Dodgers right fielder Billy McKinney robbed his counterpart, Kole Calhoun, of an extra-base hit, Walker plated VanMeter — who advanced to third on the flyout — with a sacrifice fly to deep center.

Dodgers Tie It Up

Jake Faria took the hill for the Diamondbacks in the top of the seventh and had an outing he’d like to forget. Back-to-back singles by McKinney and pinch-hitter Matt Beaty set the table for Taylor, whose triple plated both and slashed the lead to 5–4. Exit stage right for Faria; enter Miguel Aguilar, the second Diamondback to make his major league debut in this game. Aguilar cleaned up the mess with a strikeout, foul popup, and grounder to second.

A leadoff walk by Smith and singles by Pollock and pinch-hitter Albert Pujols off Brett de Geus tied the game at five. Kenley Jansen, who has struggled of late, pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases against him with one out thanks to a VanMeter double, a walk by Cabrera, and a single by Calhoun. However, consecutive strikeouts by Walker and Kelly left the runners stranded and the score tied.

Winning in Extras

The Dodgers faced the recently activated Tyler Clippard in the top of the ninth. With one out, he hit Turner, who advanced to third on a follow-up single by Seager. However, Clippard escaped the jam by getting Smith, up next, to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

In the bottom of the ninth, a two-out double by Varsho brought pinch-hitter Josh Reddick to the plate. Reddick, who had one walk-off hit to his credit already in 2021, could not make it two. A foul popup to first dashed those hopes, sending the game to extras.

Alabaman Matt Peacock pitched a 1-2-3 10th for the Diamondbacks on three fly balls. Pollock, center fielder Cody Bellinger, and McKinney flied to right, left, and left, respectively. In the bottom of the inning, with Varsho starting on second, VanMeter had the first chance to walk it off against Jimmy Nelson. He lined to the shortstop in an overshift, bringing up Cabrera. On 1–0, Cabrera drove a knuckle curve into left. The speedy Varsho scored standing up, giving Cabrera a game-winning double and the Diamondbacks an emotional victory.

“Tough Day” Ends Well

“This was a tough day today,” manager Torey Lovullo remarked after the game. “In one day, we lost three of our back-end relievers.” Those three were Soria, Noe Ramirez, and Joe Mantiply. Soria was traded to the Blue Jays, while Ramirez and Mantiply were unavailable due to COVID protocol. Lovullo continued, “Under normal circumstances, everybody has roles, so things are totally scattered and thrown into a totally different dimension. But we slowed the game down enough. We made pitches, and we executed. That’s what pleases me the most. Watching Asdrubal get that big base hit to score that run, watching those guys celebrate out there — they deserve that. They deserved today; deserved a good moment. We fight. That’s what we do every single day. My mindset (going into the 10th) was that we were gonna fight to win that baseball game. We were fortunate enough to do that.”

Another tough part of the day was wondering if any other players were heading to another club. Cabrera, as mentioned earlier, was one. Lovullo said, “I felt like every one of our older players was under consideration. The front office doesn’t tell me much because I can get myself into trouble with too much information. My phone didn’t ring at all yesterday, but I know they were busy. It didn’t ring at all today, so I wasn’t sure what everybody’s status was. But I know that we’ve got some good baseball players on this team, and I felt like we’d get a couple plucked. Thankfully for us, Asdrubal was (still) here and got the big hit.”

“Put the Ball in Play”

Cabrera was not worried that he’d be traded. “I was on the IL (injured list), and the way I’m hitting, I don’t think anyone wants Cabrera,” he said bluntly. As far as his plate approach in the 10th, he explained, “I was looking for some pitch could hit into left field. (Today) I was seeing the ball really (well) and walked three times. I was looking to put the ball in play to bring that run in.”

Looking Ahead

Peacock (4–6) earned the win, while Nelson (1–2) took the loss, both in relief. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers play Game Two of their three-game weekend series Saturday evening. Merrill Kelly (7–7, 4.39 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks, while the Dodgers starter is TBD. First pitch will be at 5:10 Arizona Time.

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Eduardo Escobar, Joakim Soria, Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh VanMeter, Paul Goldschmidt, Tony Gonsolin, Carson Kelly, David Peralta, Daulton Varsho, Zac Gallen, Nick Ahmed, Christian Walker, Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Will Smith, AJ Pollock, Drew Ellis, Billy McKinney, Kole Calhoun, Jake Faria, Matt Beaty, Miguel Aguilar, Albert Pujols, Brett de Geus, Kenley Jansen, Tyler Clippard, Josh Reddick, Matt Peacock, Cody Bellinger, Jimmy Nelson, Torey Lovullo, Noe Ramirez, Joe Mantiply, Merrill Kelly