PHOENIX -- Before his ninth-inning at-bat with runners on first and second Tuesday night, A.J. Pollock made eye contact with D-backs manager Torey Lovullo."I felt like I had some non-verbal communication with A.J.," Lovullo said. "He looked at me several times when he was walking up to the on-deck circle
PHOENIX -- Before his ninth-inning at-bat with runners on first and second Tuesday night, A.J. Pollock made eye contact with D-backs manager Torey Lovullo.
"I felt like I had some non-verbal communication with A.J.," Lovullo said. "He looked at me several times when he was walking up to the on-deck circle and I felt like that was his way of saying, 'I'll do whatever it takes.'"
What that turned out to be was a bunt back toward the mound that Cam Bedrosian fielded and threw wildly to third, allowing the game-winning run to score as the D-backs walked off the Angels, 5-4, at Chase Field.
"It was kind of like an ask, 'Do you want to bunt?'" Pollock said of Lovullo's look. "And I was like, 'Yeah, let's do it, let's just bunt.' Put some pressure on them, make them make a play. It wasn't the best bunt, but it won the game."
And at this time of the year, style points don't matter, wins do, especially when they come on a night when the second-place Rockies and third-place Dodgers both lost, allowing the D-backs to go up 1 1/2 games and 3 1/2 on their rivals, respectively.
"The play was there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the game's final play. "We were where we needed to be. If Cam makes just his nice normal throw, he is out by two steps at third base. He just lost his release point on that play."
Pollock's last sacrifice bunt came in 2014, and given his ability to drive the ball, he's not usually one that you would think about sacrificing.
"You have to throw off the spray charts every once in a while and just mix things up," Lovullo said, adding that the chances of scoring a run with runners on second and third with one out are greater than they are with first and second and no outs.
How the D-backs even got themselves in a position to benefit from Bedrosian's error was amazing, in that the only ball that left the infield all inning was the one that Bedrosian threw past the third baseman.
Jonathan Jay pinch-hit to lead off the frame and was hit by a pitch. That's no surprise as it was the 17th time Jay has been hit this year, including his time with the Royals.
Lovullo then decided to have catcher John Ryan Murphy lay down a bunt and Murphy, whose last hit was on July 6 -- a span of 34 plate appearances -- laid a perfect one down the first-base line, which he beat out for a hit.
"He put it in a good spot and he was digging down the line," Pollock said of Murphy. "It was huge. It kind of gives you options when you have first and second and nobody out. A guy on second and one out, obviously I'm swinging the bat. It definitely changes the game a little bit."
As it turned out, Pollock's bunt changed the game even more.
THEY'LL TAKE IT
Lovullo was asked if he felt like his team had "gotten away with one," given how they won the game.
"A.J. laid down a bunt and they make a mistake, fundamentally," Lovullo said. "You just don't really expect that. Do I feel like we stole one? I felt like we stole one on that particular play, but I feel like we were bound to score a run with those first two guys getting on the way the did."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
D-backs shortstop Nick Ahmed continued to make his case for a Rawlings Gold Glove Award with another defensive gem in the fourth inning. Ahmed fielded Eric Young's grounder deep in the hole at short and threw from the outfield grass to nail Young by an inch at first.
HE SAID IT
"It was a great win for us. In my opinion every game is our biggest game of the year from here on out. This is the fun time. This is when you wake up and you're excited to come to the ballpark because every game means something big, and this is what baseball is all about." -- Jay
The D-backs conclude their brief two-game series with the Angels on Wednesday night with Clay Buchholz (6-2, 2.47 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 12 starts this year and is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA over his last seven starts. The Angels will counter with Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 6.29).
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.