The 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks resiliently came back from a three games to two deficit to defeat the mighty New York Yankees in the World Series.
On Saturday at Chase Field, as the organization celebrated the 20th anniversary of the title, the D-backs (45-92) could not find the magic of the title team, losing 8-5 to the Seattle Mariners (74-62).
Purple, the primary color the D-backs donned in 2001, filled the ballpark Saturday. The D-backs wore throwback uniforms, a video montage of the 2001 World Series was played pregame and trumpeter Jesse McGuire, who played the national anthem at then-Bank One Ballpark during the 2001 postseason, played the national anthem on Saturday. Bob Brenly, manager of the 2001 team, along with key members of the squad Luis Gonzalez and Mark Grace threw out ceremonial first pitches.
“(The 2001 World Series win) was a special moment that they created for this community,” said D-backs’ manager Torey Lovullo. “And it’s what I get up for every single day to have something like that happen. So it’s always a reminder to us in the dugout and the present team and the present group that that’s our goal. That’s where I want to be at the end of the day and I know the rest of the group of guys do as well. But to be able to connect with (the 2001 team) in a special way like we did today and bring back some unbelievable players with some unbelievable memories was fun for me and fun for the guys as well.”
The pregame celebration made Chase Field buzz more than it normally has this year as the D-backs have been in the cellar of the National League West division much of the season. And for the first part of the game, it looked as though the D-backs were going to treat the crowd of 18,819 to a 2001-esque performance.
In the top of the first inning, D-backs’ starter Humberto Castellanos gave up a three-run home run to Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. However, Arizona came back in the bottom of the inning to score four runs on a Carson Kelly two-run home run and a Stuart Fairchild two-run double.
When the Mariners scored two runs on a J.P. Crawford two-run single in the top of the fourth inning, Ketel Marte responded in the bottom of the frame with his 10th home run of the season to tie the game at five.
However, Marte’s home run was the last time the D-backs showed any resemblance to the 2001 team in the game. The D-backs had four baserunners the rest of the game but were unable to plate any of them and Seager hit another three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning off of D-backs reliever Caleb Smith that proved to be the game-winning hit. The Mariners’ third baseman finished the game with six RBIs and extended his career-high in home runs to 33.
“He hit our mistakes,” said D-backs’ catcher Carson Kelly. “He got pitches out over the plate. He took the close ones, got himself into good counts and he’s been doing this a long time so got us for two long ones there.”
Seattle starter Marco Gonzales picked up his seventh win of the season while Smith took the loss to drop to 4-9 on the season.
The D-backs will look to avoid the sweep Sunday at 1:10 p.m. Arizona time. They are projected to start left-hander Tyler Gilbert (1-2, 2.93 ERA) against Seattle starter Chris Flexen (11-5, 3.52). The game will be broadcast on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.