PHOENIX -- The D-backs have watched too many games slip from their collective fingertips over the past few weeks, especially against the Dodgers.So as Eduardo Escobar's walk-off homer sailed over the right-field wall in the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Chase Field, the D-backs stormed from their dugout and
PHOENIX -- The D-backs have watched too many games slip from their collective fingertips over the past few weeks, especially against the Dodgers.
So as Eduardo Escobar's walk-off homer sailed over the right-field wall in the ninth inning on Tuesday night at Chase Field, the D-backs stormed from their dugout and celebrated their 4-3 win that cut the Dodgers' National League West lead over the Rockies to just a half-game.
The win snapped a four-game losing for the D-backs, who had dropped nine of 10 coming into the game.
"It's good to come out on the other side of a one-run game," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I was really proud of these guys for the way they fought through the course of the entire night. It's always the best way to win the game -- with a walk-off home run. It just adds energy to the victory."
With the D-backs eliminated from the postseason hunt, inflicting damage to their rivals' playoff chances is good feeling.
"We've been talking about it routinely, that it's kind of what we have left in the season," Lovullo said. "We're not going to lay down for anybody, and the fact that we knocked a game off their lead, I think these guys are very proud of that."
The D-backs received a boost from rookie right-hander Yoan Lopez, who displayed an electric fastball in the eighth.
Signed as a free agent out of Cuba prior to the 2015 season for $8.27 million (plus another $8 million in penalties for exceeding their spending pool), Lopez struggled on the mound and, at times, off it in his first couple of years in the Arizona system.
The 25-year-old has turned that around and was outstanding for Double-A Jackson this year before getting a September callup. In his first outing, he allowed three runs without retiring a batter, but he has not allowed a run in seven appearances since.
"You learn, you get stronger, you get more confident, and I like those kinds of situations," Lopez said via a translator. "The adrenaline and my arm just gets pumping, and I really feel like I can thrive in those kind of situations."
Lopez knows that the better he pitches now, the greater his chances are of making next year's team out of Spring Training.
"I feel like every time out, every outing, every pitch I'm throwing makes me feel more comfortable and ready to face what's left in this season and what's upcoming in the next one," Lopez said.
Lopez threw 12 pitches, 10 of which were fastballs. His last three registered 97, 98 and 99 mph.
"That ball is coming out hot," Lovullo said. "But that's not the only pitch he throws. He's got very capable secondary stuff. Player development did a great job with him, and they told us all the good things about him that we're watching unfold here right now."
WHO ARE YOU LOOKING AT?
When Manny Machado led off the eighth with a double off Lopez, the slugger raised his hands toward the Dodgers dugout. When Lopez's 99-mph fastball struck out Alex Verdugo to end the inning, the reliever turned toward Machado at second and imitated his gesture in celebration. The two then engaged in a brief staredown as Lopez walked off the field.
"I know that he showed a lot of excitement -- the big strikeout to get out of that eighth inning -- and I don't mind that," Lovullo said. "I don't mind that whatsoever. I mean, he's a passionate kid, and it's nice to see that passion. He cares. Maybe there was a little staredown, but look, Machado banged a ball into the gap and he did something very similar at second base, and that's how the game is today."
Lopez said he didn't mean any disrespect.
"It was a situation where I was excited," Lopez said. "I respect Machado. I respect what he's all about. He was excited. I was excited. Just like he raised his arm when he hit the double, I raised mine when I had the strikeout. Again, I respect him a lot."
HE SAID IT
"Every outing, to me, is a challenge for myself to give the best I can. I'm feeling better and better every time I'm out there. That's the way I like to feel right now. It's really a dream come true. To able to help the team win games is something I dream about every single day." -- Lopez
The D-backs wrap up their home schedule at 6:40 MST on Wednesday night with right-hander Zack Greinke (14-11, 3.21 ERA) looking for a series win against the Dodgers. Greinke, 6-4 with a 2.52 ERA in 16 starts at Chase Field, will try to reach 15 wins overall for the eighth time in his career in what will be his final start of the season. The Dodgers will counter with Thomas Stripling.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.