Hale rewarded for playing percentages
MIAMI -- D-backs manager Chip Hale noticed no one warming up in the Marlins' bullpen as the eighth inning developed, and he adjusted his gameplan accordingly in a 4-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Following a leadoff single by Mark Trumbo and a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt in a tie game, southpaw reliever Mike Dunn was set to face left-handed batter David Peralta. Hale decided to play the lefty-righty split, going with right-handed batter A.J. Pollock as a pinch-hitter.
Pollock connected on Dunn's first offering -- a 95 mph-fastball -- for the go-ahead, two-run homer over the left-field wall. It marked the second straight night a D-backs outfielder provided the decisive knock. Peralta did it on Monday with a two-out RBI double.
"We were watching the 'pen real carefully, and there was no righty up, so that was the only way I was going to use him for Peralta," Hale said. "If there was a righty up, I probably wouldn't have done it. But we got that situation, and it just shows you with David last night and with A.J. tonight, those guys are always ready to go. They're not hanging their head 'cause they're not starting. They're down there getting loose, getting ready. To come up with those big hits is great for them."
Pollock, who improved to 12-for-32 (.375) against left-handed pitching this season, didn't know whether the ball would go out. He assumed it would at least be a double off the bat. Pollock slowed down his trot once he saw the umpire motion a dinger.
His fourth homer of the season was also his second career pinch-hit long ball. The other came off Dodgers righty Zack Greinke on April 12, 2014. Pollock was hitless in two previous pinch-hit at-bats this season.
"Anytime you see a lefty out there -- anytime it can happen -- you just have to stay ready," Pollock said. "It was one of those last-minute things [Hale] liked the matchup, and [I] got in there and tried to get a good pitch to hit and get a good swing on it.
"I knew if he put it in my zone I didn't want to be taking it, especially coming off the bench. You have to be up there, get locked in there right from the first pitch. Just fortunate enough to get it and hit it over the fence."