'Just fun': Varsho nails his first walk-off HR
PHOENIX -- As he approached home plate, Daulton Varsho took in the scene in front of him. His teammates gathered around waiting to celebrate the fact the ball he had just hit over the right-field wall to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning delivered a 3-2 walk-off win over the Padres.
It was the D-backs’ second straight win over the Padres, and it was the first walk-off homer of Varsho's professional career.
"I don't know if there's another thing that you compare it to in life," Varsho said of the feeling. "You just see the people at home plate, your teammates who have grinded with you the whole year. And it's just fun.
“It's literally adrenaline through the roof. And you don't really get many of those throughout your whole career. Like you never see that very much. So it's pretty cool to do and be a part of it."
Varsho had driven in the game's first run, as well, when he hit a 1-2 slider from Blake Snell into left field for an RBI single in the second inning.
In the ninth, Varsho led off against Padres reliever Craig Stammen. After falling behind 1-2, Varsho took a pair of balls to run the count full.
The fifth pitch of the at-bat was a knuckle-curve that was low, and Stammen decided to double up on that pitch. Maybe in an effort to not have it in the same location, he started this one up a bit higher.
"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," Varsho said. "And he located the first fastball pretty well and just kind of stuck with the fastball throughout the whole at-bat. And I knew he had a good curveball. So just [trying to] see it up was just kind of a big thing there. So got a pitch I could hit, and I handled it pretty well."
In 22 games since July 11, Varsho has a slash line of .302/.405/.635, along with three doubles, six homers and 14 RBIs.
"I think a lot of it has to do with having good conversations with the coaches and teammates and just trying to figure out who I am," Varsho said.
So who is he?
"The answer is: myself," Varsho said. "I haven't changed since the Minor Leagues. And just knowing that I can do the same stuff that I did down there up here. I had multiple conversations with coaches throughout the past couple of days. And it's been a lot of fun, being able to kind of just be myself and not have to try to do too much."
Veteran left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who was outstanding over 6 2/3 innings Friday, was asked about Varsho and another young player, second baseman Josh Rojas.
"It's fun to watch," Bumgarner said of their development. "I like both those guys a lot, and I like when they're in the lineup and out there behind me. I think both of them are going to stick around and be pretty dang good ballplayers. They already are. I'm excited to see it and see what happens."