Down to last out, D-backs stun Cubs to end desert slugfest

Marte caps 4-hit game with game-tying homer, sets up Grichuk for game-winner

April 17th, 2024

PHOENIX -- If you followed all the ups and downs of the D-backs' game with the Cubs on Tuesday night, you were liable to come away seasick.

Outfielder , who ended up winning the 12-11 game with a 10th-inning base hit, described it as a roller coaster.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo went up and down with the emotions of the game that he described himself as exhausted long before the game reached its conclusion.

Here’s a brief snapshot of it: The D-backs led, 4-1, at one point, trailed, 5-4, led, 8-5, and finally trailed, 11-8, heading into the bottom of the seventh. They scored one run in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to tie the game.

“It was a lot of ups and downs,” Grichuk said. “You know, I thought we had it in the bag and kind of didn't look good and then got back in there and yeah, roller coaster of emotions for everybody. Glad, I was able to come in and help the team win.”

Grichuk was a spectator for all but two pitches of the game, but he certainly made the most of his time.

The D-backs were down to their final out in the ninth, trailing 11-10 with Cubs closer Adbert Alzolay on the mound and at the plate.

Alzolay started Marte off with a cutter for a strike and after seeing that, Marte figured he would get something similar on the next pitch.

He was correct as Alzolay threw the cutter a little harder on the second offering but nearly in the same spot and Marte hammered it to right-center field. The ball appeared to tip the very top of the wall and go over before bouncing back onto the field of play.

A crew chief review of the play confirmed the homer and the game was tied.

Marte, who finished with four hits, was surprised it was a home run. He knew he hit the ball hard, he said, but it was a line drive (17-degree launch angle) and he wasn’t sure it was going to have the height.

“The biggest thing is, I’m strong,” Marte said with a smile.

The Cubs failed to score in the top of the 10th and with automatic runner on second to open the bottom of the inning, Lovullo sent the right-handed hitting Grichuk up to pinch-hit against lefty Drew Smyly.

Grichuk took a sinker for a ball before smacking another sinker into the gap in left-center for the game-winning double.

“Be aggressive, find a pitch out over the plate and try to put a good swing on it,” Grichuk said of his approach. “I know I have a chance to drive the ball in the gap, drive the ball over the fence to get the run in. Obviously, lefty-righty matchup there favors me. If it was a righty you know, [my] approach might be a little different. But at that point I'm trying to drive the ball.”

It was the second straight night these two teams ran through a marathon game. Monday night didn’t feature the same amount of runs, but it was a 3-2, 11-inning game that took 3 hours, 16 minutes to play and taxed both teams.

The Cubs won that one and the thought that the D-backs could have lost this 10-inning, 3-hour, 38-minute game was not something they wanted to contemplate.

“It'd be tough to take two of those back to back,” Grichuk said. “Now 1-1 and we have a chance to win a series tomorrow. It’s huge.”

To do that, the D-backs will need to play better baseball overall. Through the first 18 games of the season, they haven’t met their standard for playing clean games.

“I am emotionally exhausted,” Lovullo said. “I'm frustrated. I'm mad. And we got to start tightening some things up around here. We'll take care of that internally, but we won a baseball game and I want to celebrate that. I’m proud of these guys for fighting.”