Pollock's walk-off shot caps Memorial Day win
D-backs capitalize on miscues, setting up ninth-inning heroics
PHOENIX -- A.J. Pollock made the D-backs' series opener against the Padres on Memorial Day a memorable affair.
With two outs in the ninth inning and the score tied at 5, Pollock roped a line drive off of Padres reliever Kevin Quackenbush onto the center-field concourse, giving the D-backs a 7-5 victory. It was their first walk-off win since Miguel Montero hit a 10th-inning home run against the Rockies on April 30.
"I knew it was probably going to score Ender [Inciarte]," Pollock said of the pinch-runner at first base. "He's got some great speed. I was trying to be a little greedy. I wanted that thing to go over the fence.
"It was great. It was exciting, just a really cool feeling. That's what you do. You come in here every day, you put a lot of swings in the cages and you work hard."
The walk-off hit -- a career first for Pollock -- came after a back-and-forth game that saw three lead changes before the D-backs center fielder broke a 5-5 tie.
D-backs starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy looked poised to go deep in the game, throwing only 27 pitches through three scoreless innings, but he hit a wall in the fifth.
The 30-year-old right-hander gave up four runs in the frame, including a solo home run by Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso and a three-run blast by shortstop Everth Cabrera.
"One of them was just a bad pitch, and from that point on, I struggled to get my sinker to do what I wanted it to do," McCarthy said. "It felt good, it felt like it did what I wanted it to do. [Cabrera] just jumped on it, and Miggy said it drifted back over. That's one I'll go back and look at. Just a series of not great pitches."
But McCarthy recovered and pitched another 2 1/3 innings, surrendering one more run when pinch-hitter Tommy Medica doubled off him in the seventh inning and reliever Joe Thatcher allowed the runner to score.
The D-backs also got the benefit of two Padres baserunning mistakes.
In the fourth, right fielder Seth Smith lined a double off the center-field wall that ricocheted over Pollock and back toward the infield. Smith tried to turn it into a triple but was called out at third -- a call that a replay review confirmed.
"There are times to push the envelope, and we hadn't done anything [offensively], and I felt like that was one of them," Smith said. "And it wasn't even really pushing the envelope. I thought that I was going to be safe. And it took two good throws to beat me."
In the eighth, with Brad Ziegler on to pitch, second baseman Jedd Gyorko was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single. He was tagged out to end the inning, stranding the go-ahead run.
While McCarthy was still on the hill, the D-backs' offense chased his opponent, Padres starter Tyson Ross.
Ross came into the game with a 1.80 career ERA against the D-backs in five outings (four starts), but the D-backs tagged him for five runs (four earned) in his five-plus innings.
After surrendering two runs in the second, Ross ran into trouble in the sixth. Pollock and right fielder Gerardo Parra led off the inning with a pair of singles, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt picked up his team-leading 34th RBI, bringing the D-backs within a run.
Montero tied the game with a single of his own, and third baseman Martin Prado gave the D-backs a 5-4 lead with a double off the right-field wall.
But that lead would not hold, giving Pollock the chance to be a hero.
"We've had some tough losses lately," Pollock said. "I feel like we've put some good games together, keeping us in the game.
"Early in the year that was the most frustrating part. We let games get out of hand. That's not us. We're a team that's always in it. Last year we were always in it, late parts of the game. I think we're kind of getting back to that."