D-backs stun Jansen in 9th, KO Dodgers in 15
PHOENIX -- As he rounded first base, Jeff Mathis breathed a sigh of relief.
Not only had he just delivered an 8-7 walk-off win in the 15th inning for the D-backs over the Dodgers, but he also spared himself from having to pitch.
That's right, out of bullpen arms, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told Mathis he would need to pitch the 16th inning, but first he needed him to pinch-hit.
"I've done it before, so it wasn't uncharted territory," Mathis said of pitching. "But it's a big spot, tie ballgame, guys have been playing for five hours and I'm going to go out there and pitch. So it was on my mind, but I just tried to lock it in on the at-bat."
• Jansen stumbles in 9th; Dodgers fall in 15th
Mathis' hit capped a wild game that lasted a Chase Field-record 5 hours and 46 minutes and featured a pair of unlikely comebacks by the D-backs.
The first was in the ninth, when the Dodgers handed a 6-3 lead to All-Star closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen retired the first two batters before Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock drew back-to-back walks. That brought Chris Owings to the plate, and he tied the game with a home run to left.
"It was two really good at-bats before me, and just looking at his misses, kind of up and away, kind of thinking he'd need to get back in the zone, and that pitch was right where I was kind of looking," Owings said of his approach against Jansen. "Definitely got us back in the game, and from there, the rest is history."
From that point on, there were a lot of zeros on the scoreboard, thanks in part to a pair of outstanding plays by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig in the 14th.
Both teams ran through their bullpens. Noel Salas, the final D-backs pitcher, threw three innings, while Wilmer Font tossed 4 1/3 for the Dodgers.
It looked like Font was going to come out on the winning side of things when Chase Utley delivered a two-out single to left that scored Cody Bellinger from second base to give the Dodgers a 7-6 lead in the top of the 15th.
The D-backs, though, were not going to go quietly.
"We saw a little bit of it last year, we're not ever going to give up," Mathis said. "We're going to keep grinding and putting at-bats on you."
With one out in the bottom of the 15th, Jake Lamb singled and scored the tying run when Nick Ahmed followed with a double to left-center.
Mathis, who had been in the batting cage behind the D-backs dugout throwing warmup pitches for his expected relief appearance, then stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winner an on 0-1 curveball.
"Watching him over the last four innings, he was mixing it up, fastball and his curveball," Mathis said. "He threw me the first one for a strike and I saw it pretty good. He ended up leaving the next one up and I was able to get some barrel on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Puig defense: Puig was quiet at the plate, but his glove work in the 14th spoke volumes. With Marte on first, Goldschmidt lifted a drive to deep right, Puig went back to the wall and jumped to catch the ball. While the ball probably would not have left the yard, it still prevented Marte from advancing. Then, when Pollock hit a drive to right, Puig once again caught the ball on the warning track and this time fired to second in time to get Marte trying to tag up and advance into scoring position.
Patience is a virtue: Goldschmidt's first-inning double was his first hit of the season, but the D-backs' first baseman has been getting on base at a high clip thanks to his eye at the plate. Goldschmidt entered the game with three walks, and he picked up his third of the night with two outs vs. Jansen. Pollock followed by battling back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk of his own, and the stage was set for Owings' homer.
"C.O. and Goldy and A.J. in that ninth inning, linking at-bats together, kept us in the game," Mathis said.
"It was a really, really satisfying night. To come out ahead the way we did spoke volumes about the character of this team. This team doesn't shut down. They fight, they claw, they believe. We were down to barely nothing, and these guys found a way to win a game." -- Lovullo on his team's character
"Everybody was coming in and talking about how slow it was and how you have to let it get there. It was really good advice for me coming in off the bench. Luckily, I got the barrel on it." -- Mathis on Font's curveball
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Mathis recorded his fifth career walk-off plate appearance and his first since a grand slam on June 30, 2013, against the Padres when he was with the Marlins.
D-backs: D-backs right-hander Zack Godley will make his season debut against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. Godley, who did not make the team out of Spring Training last year, became an important contributor for the D-backs in 2017, tallying a 3.37 ERA over 26 appearances (25 starts). First pitch at Chase Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MST.
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