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Comeback gives D-backs fifth straight win

Locastro reaches on third-strike passed ball, scores winning run on balk
@SteveGilbertMLB
August 31, 2019

PHOENIX -- What proved to be the game-winning rally for the D-backs started with a strikeout, ended with a balk and resulted in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Friday night at Chase Field. And naturally, it was Tim Locastro who was right in the middle of the winning

PHOENIX -- What proved to be the game-winning rally for the D-backs started with a strikeout, ended with a balk and resulted in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Friday night at Chase Field.

And naturally, it was Tim Locastro who was right in the middle of the winning rally.

“He can’t help himself, right?” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “It doesn’t matter what he does, he’s going to find his way into the middle of something special. He has a tremendous knack for that.”

Box score

With the game tied at 4, Locastro opened the eighth by striking out against Yimi Garcia, but managed to reach first base, thanks to a passed ball by catcher Russell Martin.

“That’s all Jonsey,” Locastro said of Adam Jones. “I heard him yell from the on-deck circle. Good thing he said something, so I was able to be on top of it.”

Locastro has made getting on base via the hit-by-pitch an art form, being plunked 18 times in just 204 plate appearances this year. And once he does get on base, he uses his speed to steal bases -- he’s a perfect 18-for-18 so far in his career.

Reaching base on a strikeout, though, was something unique.

“That was a new, huh?” Locastro said. “I think that was the first time I had ever got on base with a strikeout. But you don’t really have time to feel sorry for yourself, you’ve got to get out there and get into scoring position and that’s what I was able to do.”

Locastro stole second, moved to third on a bloop hit by Jones and, one out later, he sauntered home when Garcia committed a balk by starting a pickoff move to first but not throwing the ball.

“I was meaning to slide my foot directly behind the rubber and it slid kind of to the side, and that's why they called the balk,” Garcia said. “It's because I didn't throw the ball. I should've thrown the ball.”

The win was the fifth in a row for the surging D-backs, who remained 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot.

“We’ve got to keep it going,” Locastro said. “I mean every game down the stretch is a playoff game for us and that’s how everybody in here … that’s our mentality.”

The five straight wins matches the D-backs' longest winning streak of the season and at 69-66 they are starting to feel like things might finally be going their way as they try to put some distance between themselves and the .500 mark they’ve hovered around for almost the entire season.

Friday night’s win was especially sweet, given that two of their better hitters were not in the lineup. Outfielder David Peralta had shoulder surgery earlier in the day and All-Star Ketel Marte sat out with a nagging right hamstring issue that could sideline him Saturday as well.

“I’m so happy right now,” said Eduardo Escobar, who hit his 31st homer of the year. “When the team wins, that’s the most important. We needed it now, especially with us missing two of the best players in the lineup. The rest of the guys have to keep competing. We have to play hard and hopefully Marte can come back to the lineup soon. We need him, too.”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.