By Field Level Media
October 12 – PHOENIX — Not long after Arizona won another postseason series Wednesday night, it was time to frolic in the Chase Field swimming pool beyond right field, a place where the Diamondbacks have congregated to celebrate clinching victories.
Then it was back to a beer-and-champagne-soaked clubhouse to clean up and look ahead to the Diamondbacks’ third trip to the National League Championship Series in franchise history.
As for history, Arizona became the first team ever to hit four home runs in one inning of a postseason game, and they finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in Game 3 for a sweep of the best-of-five National League Division Series.
The D-backs continued their improbable yet impressive run through the playoffs. They began with a two-game sweep in the best-of-three wild-card series against the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers before knocking out the NL West champion Dodgers in the best-of-five divisional round.
Arizona advances to the NLCS for the first time since 2007. The Diamondbacks will open on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies or the Atlanta Braves on Monday.
“I don’t think anybody gave us a chance to be here, I don’t think anybody gave us a chance to win the games we won against the teams that we had to play. And that’s what I’m most proud of,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.
Ninth-place hitter Geraldo Perdomo led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run, and one out later, Ketel Marte homered deep into the right field seats. With two outs, Christian Walker took Dodgers starter Lance Lynn deep, and Gabriel Moreno knocked Lynn out of the game with yet another solo shot for the Diamondbacks.
One pitch before his homer, Moreno hit what was first ruled a home run down the right field line, but it was reviewed and overturned to a foul ball.
“That’s the quality of hitter we have,” Lovullo said. “That’s us having a mature at-bat and being dynamic.”
Lynn, making his ninth career postseason start and 28th postseason appearance, lasted just 2 2/3 innings. That was the longest outing of the series for a Dodgers starter, with Clayton Kershaw only getting one out in Game 1 and Bobby Miller lasting 1 2/3 innings in Game 2.
The Dodgers’ two biggest stars, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, combined to go 0-for-8 in Game 3 and finished the series 1-for-21 as a duo. Both struck out while representing the tying run in the top of the eighth against Arizona reliever Kevin Ginkel.
“I know that those guys are prepared. Those are our guys and two great players,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “I don’t have an answer for that.”
The Dodgers were sent home after another disappointing NLDS, the second straight season they failed to advance beyond that round after winning the division by at least 16 games each year.
“I’ve got to do a better job of figuring out a way to get our guys prepared for the postseason. And so on that, I think we’ve got great players,” Roberts said. “I’ve got to figure out a way to get these guys prepared for whatever format, whatever series. … The last couple of postseasons, it just hasn’t gone well for us.”
Diamondbacks rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. Reliever Joe Mantiply (2-0) tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings for the win. Paul Sewald pitched around a single in the ninth inning for his fourth save of the postseason.
Los Angeles rallied for two runs on four consecutive singles in the seventh, but pinch hitter Austin Barnes grounded out to end the inning.
Arizona lost Moreno, its catcher who has a team-leading three postseason home runs, to a bruised right hand. Moreno was injured in the top of the fifth inning but remained in the game until he was removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth.
Lovullo said Moreno was fine after a negative X-ray.
Lynn (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits with no walks and one strikeout. He led the major in homers allowed in the regular season with 44.
–Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media