When asked earlier this season to account for success of his team, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said his club was getting timely hits at the right time.
“Big hits” have come few and far between for Arizona this season until Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra delivered on a timely basis Saturday night.
That explanation could partly describe why the Diamondbacks have fallen on hard times through over one-third of the current season. Despite leaving 12 on base Saturday, they rode the coattails of Montero and Parra and managed to a squeeze out a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves before 29,278 in Chase Field.
On Saturday against the Braves, the D-backs had numerous opportunities to get Atlanta starter Ervin Santana but each time, they collectively could not get the job done.
However, they managed to get to Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth to tie the game and send this one into extra innings.
After closer Addison Reed could not hold the momentum of Kimbrel’s blown save, he surrendered a 10th home run to Jason Heyward but the Diamondbacks came right back to tie when Montero homered into the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 10th frame.
That lasted one inning until Parra dropped a broken bat single to shallow center field to score Cody Ross with the game winner and the Diamondbacks broke a four game home losing streak.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” said Parra, who recorded his second career walk-off hit. “Yeah, I broke my bat but knew it was in. When I hit it, I thought it would fall.”
If the Diamondbacks had difficulty in getting “the big hit” early in the game when needed, the task of savior fell to starter Wade Miley. While effective overall, Miley gave up a game-leading double to Evan Gattis that scored Justin Upton with two outs in the sixth. That gave the Braves a 2-1 lead but Kimbrel blew the lead in the ninth.
With one out, he walked Ender Inciarte, who stole second and scored on a pinch-hit double from Aaron Hill.
That left Reed to extend the game beyond the Braves half of the 10th but Heyward drilled an 0-1 pitch into the right field stands with two out. Then, Montero’s homer, on a 2-1 count, in the bottom of the frame again knotted this affair.
That set the stage for Parra to deliver the Diamondbacks’ third walk-off victory of the season.
“This was a character win,” said manager Kirk Gibson. “We stayed aggressive all night and finally got to Kimbrel. We kept the pressure on (Atlanta) throughout the game, and it paid off.”
The key hit was Monetro’s blast into the left field stands against Braves’ reliever Anthony Varvaro, who gave up his second home run of the season.
“I was thinking about hitting it out and I won’t lie to you,” Montero said. “It was a sinker away and I was able to get all of it. I left so many guys on base during he game that I wanted to hit out.”
During the course of 11 innings, Montero left four runners in scoring position in four previous times at the plate. Then, the game-tying blast and a feeling of confidence.
“It was a good game overall and a good crowd to come out and see us play,” Montero added. “Now, we have a chance to win a series at home.”
To date, that has happened only twice this season. The Diamondbacks took two-of-three from the Dodgers (May 16-18) and two-of-three from the Padres (May 26-28).
On the final day of the draft, the Diamondbacks selected 30 additional players and in total for the three-day event, chose 42 players.
Overall, they grabbed 26 players from college and 16 from high school. These include five catchers, nine infielders, six outfielders, seven left-handed pitchers and 15 right-handed pitchers.
Of those drafted Saturday, local players include infielder Kevin Cron (number 420) from Phoenix Mountain Pointe High School. For TCU this past season, Cron hit .275 with 17 doubles and 38 RBIs in 60 games. He is the brother of Angles’ first baseman C. J. Cron and in his senior year at Mountain Pointe, he established an Arizona high school record with 24 home runs.
Also chosen was outfielder Gerald Hernandez (number 630) from Phoenix Pinnacle High School. Committed to Yavapai College in Prescott, Hernandez hit .372 with 19 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in his senior year at Pinnacle.