PHOENIX -- Before this homestand started last Friday, the D-backs sent out a press release promoting tickets to their fans with the slogan “Embrace the Chaos,” with five teams battling for the final two NL Wild Card spots.
Tuesday night against the Giants, the D-backs created chaos on the bases during a four-run second inning that helped lead to an 8-4 win, their fourth straight win as they continue to put themselves in a good position for the postseason.
- Games remaining (10): vs. SF (1), at NYY (3), at CWS (3), vs. HOU (3)
- Standings update: The D-backs (80-72) currently hold the No. 2 Wild Card spot. They have a half-game lead over the Cubs (79-72) and they lead the Marlins (79-73) by one game. Arizona is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Reds (79-74) and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Giants (76-75). The D-backs do not hold the tiebreaker against the Reds or Marlins, and they are 6-6 vs. San Francisco this season, with Wednesday’s game set to determine which club owns the tiebreaker. The D-backs hold the tiebreaker against the Cubs.
In a pregame hitter’s meeting the D-backs had a goal: When running the bases, put as much pressure as possible on the Giants to play fast.
In other words: Create chaos.
So, in the second, with two runs already in, two outs and runners at first and second, they attempted a double steal. Corbin Carroll appeared to be out at third base, but as he slid into the glove of third baseman Wilmer Flores, the ball came loose, allowing Carroll to race home and leading to a second error that scored the trailing runner, Ketel Marte, who reached base five times in a four-hit performance.
It wasn’t like the Giants quit after that inning, but momentum clearly swung in favor of the D-backs and they cruised after that.
"He’s fast,” said Flores, who committed a fielding and throwing error on the double steal, of Carroll. “He can do anything. If I was that fast, I’d be going, too. I think he just makes things happen. I think I caught the ball, and I was trying to be so quick that he just kicked it out of my glove. From there, everything started. But yeah, they’re fast. It’s a play that I should have secured.”
It was an example of what the D-backs’ offense can be like when their faster players get on base. Pressure is put on the defense, and if they make the slightest miscue, it can be costly.
Sometimes even the manager can’t believe how fast it happens.
“It was powerful,” Torey Lovullo said of the play. “I'm not sure, maybe Corbin would have been out. That was an aggressive slide. And that's all timing. It’s based on a couple of checkpoints that we've targeted and identified and he did a really good job. I don't know what happened. I just blinked my eyes and we scored a couple of runs. It happened that fast.”
It was a little different from Carroll’s perspective.
“It was a little slower for me because I'm like, 'Oh God, I better make it,'” Carroll said with a smile. “Once that ball got away and Ketel scored too, I was fired up. That felt good after not being able to make that play for [Zac] Gallen in the first inning.”
Carroll misplayed a single into a triple in the first inning as part of a two-run Giants rally off Zac Gallen, who wasn’t at his best but did manage to give the D-backs five innings and secure his 16th victory of the season.
Gallen has allowed four or more runs in four of his last five starts, with the lone exception being a complete-game shutout of the Cubs 10 days ago.
“Just not really executing,” Gallen said. “I really think it's plain and simple. I really think anybody could kind of see that. You don't need me to tell you that.”