The Arizona Diamondbacks have forced Game 7 in the NLCS after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies on the road, 5-1, Monday night.
With their backs against the wall after dropping Game 5 over the weekend, the Diamondbacks wasted no time getting after Phillies starter Aaron Nola, who has been nails throughout the postseason.
It was Tommy Pham, who was publicly frustrated that he wasn’t in the lineup for Game 5, getting the D-Backs on the board first in the game. Facing a two-strike count, Pham slammed a hanging breaking ball from Nola over the left field fence to lead off the second inning with a solo home run.
That hit sparked something in the Arizona dugout as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. launched one to left on the next at-bat – both Gurriel and Pham hit their second homers of the postseason.
After an Alek Thomas walk, 38-year-old Evan Longoria roped a double that scored the speedy outfielder to run up the score quickly to 3-0 without an out recorded by the Phillies in the second.
Philadelphia would bounce back in the bottom frame, though, as J.T. Realmuto led off with a double and Brandon Marsh singled him home to get the Phillies on the board, 3-1.
That run, though, is all Merrill Kelly and the rest of the Arizona pitching staff would allow to a tough Phillies lineup at home.
Kelly has been someone who the D-Backs have leaned on all season long, making him the perfect starter in a must-win game to keep the year alive. He went five innings, giving up three hits and an earned run while striking out eight and walking three.
It also helped that the D-Backs’ offense provided some insurance with more runs in the top of the fifth and seventh, both provided by the hotter hitter on the team: Ketel Marte.
In the fifth, Marte tripled to right field off Nola, and Corbin Carroll raced around the bases from first to score for a 4-1 lead. Then Marte singled home Geraldo Perdomo for his seventh RBI of the postseason to make it 5-1.
The D-Backs used a plethora of relievers to secure the victory, including Paul Sewald striking out two Phillies in the bottom of the ninth to let Arizona live another day.
The top of the Phillies’ lineup – Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper – were uncharacteristically non-factors at home. They were a combined 0-for-9 with three walks and four strikeouts. Nick Castellanos was also 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Game 7 will surely have Citizens Bank Park in a frenzy Tuesday night when Ranger Suarez will get the ball for the Phillies while Brandon Pfaadt gets it for the D-Backs. Everyone, though, will be available to make sure their team punches a ticket to the World Series.