D-backs' rally in 10th shows flashes of future

Strong pitching, clutch hitting and a bizarre play lift Arizona over Houston

September 19th, 2021

HOUSTON -- Even amid a disappointing season, there are nights where the D-backs put together a nearly complete game and give their fans a reason to believe that better days are coming.

Saturday was one of those nights, as the D-backs scored three runs in the 10th inning to beat the Astros, 6-4, at Minute Maid Park.

The D-backs got a good start from Humberto Castellanos, an outstanding performance from the bullpen and a big homer from one of their future building blocks.

Here are three things to know about the game:

1. The pitching was strong from top to bottom

It started with Castellanos, who was initially signed out of Tepatitlán, Mexico in 2015 by the Astros, as he faced his former team for the first time since they placed him on waivers in January.

Castellanos allowed a pair of first-inning runs on Yordan Alvarez's homer, but he did not allow another until the sixth.

The D-backs used five relievers in the game -- Brandyn Sittinger, Taylor Widener, Joe Mantiply, J.B. Wendelken and Tyler Clippard -- and they combined to throw five innings, allowing just three hits and one unearned run.

"They made a statement today by getting some big outs in some very crucial [spots] against important parts of [the Astros’] lineup," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of his relievers. "They did a fantastic job."

2. Varsho continues to show his potential

Daulton Varsho is one of the younger players the team hopes will be part of its core in the future, and as the season has gone on, he's played better and better, both at the plate and behind it while also showing he can play all three outfield positions.

With a run already having scored in the 10th, Varsho gave the D-backs what proved to be crucial insurance runs with a two-run homer off Yimi García. He doubled earlier in the game and got a nice compliment from Clippard.

"He just said: ... ‘You've done really well recently and I just wanted you to know that,’" Varsho said. "That's a great compliment to hear from one of your guys who's been in the big leagues for 14 years. It's pretty cool for him to kind of give me that compliment as a young player and a young guy catching him."

3. The caught stealing in the sixth was wild

With runners at second and third and no outs in the sixth, Houston's Carlos Correa lifted a fly ball to right that scored Yuli Gurriel from third and allowed Kyle Tucker to move from second to third.

Gurriel, though, appeared to have left third base slightly before right fielder Pavin Smith caught the ball.

The D-backs were going to appeal that, and the Astros were concerned that Gurriel would be out and the tying run would be erased from the board. So when Sittinger got back on the rubber and before he could step off and throw to third for the appeal, Tucker took off from third base and was caught in a rundown and tagged out.

That took away the D-backs' chance of appealing, because once another play happens, you can't appeal the previous play.

Both teams walked away relatively satisfied, though, as the Astros kept the game tied despite using two outs to score it, and the D-backs were pleased that there were now two outs and no one on base.

The D-backs were unable to challenge the play, because they had used their replay challenge unsuccessfully earlier in the game.

"It was definitely one of the weirdest [plays] I've ever been a part of," third baseman Josh VanMeter said.