The Arizona Diamondbacks scored three runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth to tie things up on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
Momentum was certainly on their side in the late innings of the home opener at Chase Field.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and still at a 5-5 tie, D-backs first baseman Christian Walker walked.
Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo was originally on deck to pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot, but after Walker reached base, Perdomo was called back.
And who would emerge from the dugout with a bucket on and a bat but starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner on his off-night.
With Perdomo and catcher Stephen Vogt still available, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo indeed decided to go to Bumgarner.
The career .177 hitter stepped up to the plate with encouragement from his home fans.
Bumgarner took two fastballs below the knees for balls before swinging at the third pitch, an inside fastball. He broke his bat and popped out to end the inning to send the game to extras.
Lovullo said after the game that the staff had mapped out multiple situations for how the bottom of the ninth could unfold. A runner on first with two outs was going to be the call to Bumgarner.
“Bum’s a good hitter, he’s a real good hitter, and I was looking for a little bit of slug in that situation,” Lovullo said.
The manager had notified Bumgarner of the chance he could hit a half-inning prior, and the pitcher was able to go to the batting cages and get some swings in before the real thing came.
“I wanted to end the game right there. I was looking for him to drive the baseball and I’ve seen him do it a long time,” Lovullo added.
The Reds would go on to score their runner on second in the 10th, while the D-backs failed to do so, ending the game at a scoreline of 6-5.
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