If the Arizona Diamondbacks make the playoffs, they will reflect on games like the one on Monday as a reason why.
The Diamondbacks scored three runs with two outs in the 11th inning to defeat the Texas Rangers 4-3, setting themselves up for a possible two-game sweep on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
Tommy Pham was the hero for Arizona, delivering a walk-off, two-run double after Geraldo Perdomo hit an RBI double.
“We’re trying to put ourselves in the postseason,” Pham said during a postgame TV interview. “It’s going to be games like this that we’re going to look back on, and say, ‘You know what, it started there.'”
Pham has hit safely in 12 straight games.
Arizona goes for the two-game sweep on Tuesday with its ace, Zac Gallen, getting the start.
Down the stretch, Arizona is relying on its top three starters — Gallen, Merrill Kelly and rookie Brandon Pfaadt — to log their share of innings.
Gallen, a National League Cy Young Award candidate, has racked up 162 innings in 26 starts.
“It’s a burden that’s taken off my shoulders when I know these guys are pitching in the sixth and seventh inning,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Gallen (13-5, 3.17 ERA) won each of his past two starts, both against the Padres. In 12 1/3 innings vs. San Diego, the right-hander allowed one run on seven hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts.
In his latest start, Gallen yielded one run on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts over six-plus innings in a 3-1 win at San Diego on Thursday.
Gallen has faced the Rangers before, but not often. In two starts, the All-Star is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA. He got a no-decision at Texas on May 2 after giving up three runs in five innings.
The Rangers, who have lost a season-high five straight, will go with right-hander Jon Gray (8-6, 3.52) on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old veteran took a tough loss in his most recent start, when he gave up one run in seven innings during a 2-0 setback to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He struck out four while allowing six hits and two walks.
“I’m not going to complain about the results,” Gray said postgame. “Seven innings and one run is really good. But I still feel like there’s something missing if I ever want to be the guy. I feel like that could have been a lot better than what it was, and a lot of times I feel that way, so it’s tough to deal with, but I know there’s something there to get towards and I’m really fighting to get there.”
Gray is no stranger to facing the Diamondbacks, against whom he is 5-7 with a 5.66 ERA in 19 career starts. Like Gallen, he got a no-decision in the May 2 game, when he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rangers got an encouraging sign from All-Star outfielder Adolis Garcia on Monday, when he belted his 31st home run. He had been 1-for-15 with seven strikeouts in his previous four games.
Garcia was given Sunday off against the Milwaukee Brewers to reset himself physically and mentally.
“It wasn’t so much planned as an observation that he needs a day off,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday. “Watching his swing, it’s time to get him, as much as a physical break, a mental break. You get in one of these little ruts, he just needs to back off and catch his breath.”
—Field Level Media