Entering Sunday, the D-backs had not won a road series since taking two of three against the Braves in Atlanta from April 23-25. Arizona had been 0-16-1 in series away from Chase Field since then.
But when David Peralta was asked postgame if he remembered the last time the D-backs had won a road series, the left fielder didn’t look too far in the past.
“Today,” Peralta quipped following the D-backs' 5-4 series-clinching win over the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.
Behind 5 1/3 solid innings from left-hander Tyler Gilbert, a three-run sixth inning and a seventh-inning solo homer from Ketel Marte, Arizona earned a series victory by taking its second straight in the three-game set in Seattle.
“That's the past,” Peralta said of the road series winless streak. “I don't care about the past. I care about today. So today is a good day.”
The D-backs' 17 consecutive road sets without a series win was a franchise record, with their previous long having been a nine-series run that lasted from September 2016-May 2017, per the Elias Sports Bureau. The only other MLB team with a longer streak was the Astros, who went 22 straight road series without a series win from June 2011-May 2012, according to Elias.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said that getting a road series win took longer than he anticipated, but it feels good to end that drought.
“The boys just keep grinding, keep getting after it, giving their best effort and, unfortunately, it took us a little while to circle back,” Lovullo said. “I know it's probably since Atlanta if I remember correctly. That's a long time, but we did it and we're going to move onward. We did a lot right today. We had a lot of good key moments.”
Facing a Mariners team that has had a knack for winning close games to stay in the American League Wild Card mix, the D-backs were the ones who got key hits with runners on base and strong pitching for the majority of the weekend.
Gilbert allowed two runs on two hits (a pair of solo homers) before he exited with one out in the sixth having thrown 81 pitches. Later in the inning, a key moment occurred when left-hander Miguel Aguilar relieved righty Sean Poppen to work out of a jam.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Aguilar walked Abraham Toro to load the bases. But Aguilar escaped by getting Luis Torrens to ground out, preserving the D-backs' 4-2 lead.
Lovullo said it was an impressive showing for Aguilar, a 29-year-old rookie who made his MLB debut on July 30.
“It was an unbelievable moment for him,” Lovullo said. “It's great to watch his growth and his ability to repeat pitches and block out the noise. He's a young pitcher. You've got to remember, this is really his first couple spins at the big league level, and he is so unaffected by that. … He got us out of a little bit of a pickle there.”
Gilbert said playing spoiler to a potential postseason team makes the series win a bit more enjoyable.
“It feels really good,” Gilbert said. “Especially to continue to kind of knock other teams out of their Wild Card push, it feels good.”
Marte provided a key insurance run with his homer in the seventh. After striking out in all three of his at-bats as a right-handed hitter against lefty Yusei Kikuchi, Marte went deep from the left side against righty Erik Swanson. That run proved to be important after D-backs right-hander J.B. Wendelken gave up a two-run homer to Jarred Kelenic in the ninth.
“I know that being a switch-hitter, you kind of have two different mindsets, two different bodies, two different swings and you're entirely two different people,” Lovullo said. “So when you're struggling on one side, it's always nice to flip it over and get a different look at things. I think that was a little refreshing for him.”