After twice rallying from two-run deficits then relinquishing leads in the eighth and ninth, the D-backs fought back yet again to edge the Orioles, 7-6, as Adam Eaton, not known for his power, launched the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth into the pool pavilion in right-center field for the first splashdown walk-off in Chase Field history.
"All I was thinking about was they need me on base," Eaton said. "I just wanted to flick it into left field."
He did a lot more than that. The game-winning homer, his first of the year and the third of his young career, gave the D-backs their Major League-leading 23rd win in their last at-bat this season in a game that featured five ties or lead changes in the final 2 1/2 innings. This coming a day after Arizona lost Eric Chavez and Cody Ross to the disabled list.
Eaton, who missed the first three months of the season with an elbow injury, said he "blacked out" at the moment his bat met the pitch from Orioles right-hander Darren O'Day.
"I use the saying blacked out because my body just kind of reacted, you're not conscious at that point of what you're doing, your body just reacts to the pitch and thankfully I got the head out," he said. "And for me being on the DL for half the season and to be able to come out and get a win for my team, it does something mentally for me."
The madness over the final three innings began in the seventh when the D-backs scored three times on RBI hits from Eaton, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill to take their first lead, 5-4.
The next inning, however, with Arizona four outs from victory, newly acquired Joe Thatcher served up his first home run of the year to a lefty, a solo blast by Major League home run leader Chris Davis to even the score in the eighth.
"He's a dead low ball hitter," Gibson said. "He saw too many pitches down there and you've got to tip your cap to him."
The D-backs answered in their half of the inning when Wil Nieves smacked a fastball over the plate off the top of the wall in left field and into the seats for his first home run in more than a year. Once again, with victory in sight, closer Brad Ziegler allowed two hits and walked a batter before allowing a sacrifice fly to tie the game, setting up Eaton's round tripper minutes later.
"You don't have time to be too disappointed; the important thing was we didn't give up the lead," Gibson said of the blown saves. "We did a good job to cut it off."
Add Nieves, "It's huge when you have teams like this that never give up until the last out. You're going to win a lot of games that way."
The D-backs have certainly done that. Monday marked the club's 33rd comeback victory of 2013, which leads the Majors.
"We have a lot of tenacity and fight in this team," Eaton said. "It wasn't any different tonight."
Although he didn't factor into the decision, D-backs starter Wade Miley again pitched effectively, allowing four runs on seven hits over seven innings despite not having his best stuff. The Orioles got to Miley for single runs in each of the first two innings, the first coming on a wild pitch and the other on Brian Roberts' first RBI hit of the night.
After Arizona knotted the score at 2, Baltimore regained the lead on Roberts' two-out RBI double in the fourth. A Wieters solo homer in the fifth gave the Orioles a four-spot off Miley, the first time he has surrendered more than three earned runs in a start since May 31.
"I really didn't have good stuff, I was just pitching with my fastball," Miley said. "I just tried to battle and get through it."
The D-backs made sure the southpaw's gritty effort didn't end in a losing fashion. Hill continued his recent hot streak, tallied his career-best fifth consecutive multi-hit game while homering for the third time in as many days. He along with Eaton drove in two runs, while Nieves recorded a hit for the 13th time in his last 15 games, raising his average to .370 by the end of the wild night.
"There's a new hero every game it seems like," Nieves said. "Good teams do that."