D-backs put up a fight in 6-run 9th but don't get the KO

Thomas, Grichuk hit clutch homers before Padres answer with two of their own

July 6th, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- It’s difficult to put into words the emotional roller coaster the Diamondbacks went on during the ninth inning of their 10-8 loss on Friday night against the Padres.

They entered the final frame at Petco Park trailing, 7-2, only to score six runs on a pair of homers off Padres closer Robert Suarez to grab an 8-7 lead.

A victory would have been their third in a row and would have brought them back to the .500 mark. At last, they would have some momentum and traction with the All-Star break looming.

Closer Paul Sewald came on to record the final three outs in the ninth. Instead, after three batters, it was the Padres who were celebrating with a walk-off victory that left the D-backs stunned.

“You go from low to as high as you can possibly imagine and then as low as you can feel at the end of the night,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “But that's the beauty of this game.”

Down by five runs heading into the ninth, the D-backs’ goal was simply to try to get some baserunners and maybe make the Padres use their closer in a game that they shouldn’t have to.

Padres reliever Enyel De Los Santos retired the first batter of the inning, but the D-backs then proceeded to load the bases with coming to the plate.

That’s when the Padres brought in Suarez.

“Just looking at the scouting report, he’s a heavy fastball guy -- and I knew that he threw pretty hard,” Thomas said. “So, for me, it was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and one I could drive.”

It just so happened that the good pitch to hit was the first pitch of the night for Suarez, a 98 mph fastball right down the middle.

“Just put a good swing on it and it felt really good,” Thomas said. “It was pretty cool to do that.”

It was a big hit, but the D-backs still trailed by a run. After Geraldo Perdomo followed Thomas’ blast with a groundout, Arizona was down to its last out.

Corbin Carroll extended the inning with a double to right-center, and that brought up Ketel Marte’s spot.

Marte, who was named last week as the NL All-Star starter at second base, has been the D-backs’ best player this year. So when walked up to the plate to hit for Marte, it raised eyebrows.

It turns out that Marte had been battling some back tightness for the past few days and when he came off the field after the eighth, he told Lovullo he was unable to hit.

So Grichuk, who normally hits against left-handers, was sent out to face the right-handed Suarez.

“Obviously I don't expect to face a righty in the ninth ever, starting or not,” Grichuk said. “So it was a bit of a shock. But understanding the situation, I just had to go in there and put my best foot forward.”

A mound visit before the first pitch gave Grichuk a little extra time, and he used it to talk to himself.

“Let’s go, you’re built for moments like this,” he told himself.

His two-run homer landed in the seats of the Western Metal Supply Co. building down the left-field line to give the D-backs an 8-7 lead.

The D-backs’ dugout went wild. Thomas was one of the players who spilled over the dugout railing to greet Grichuk.

All that was left was for Sewald to close things out, something that he had done 11 of 12 times this year, with his only blown save coming Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Jurickson Profar opened the ninth by falling behind 0-2 before working the count full and then hitting a Sewald fastball for a game-tying home run.

Sewald, who declined to comment after the game, then walked Jake Cronenworth. The right-hander jumped ahead of Manny Machado 0-2 before Machado fouled off a couple of pitches.

Sewald then threw a sweeper that didn’t sweep enough, and Machado hit it into the left-field bleachers for a walk-off homer. It was the eighth career walk-off homer of Machado’s career, all of which have come since the start of 2014. That’s the most in the Majors over that span.