PHOENIX (AP) — Christian Walker hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded that scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 on Sunday.
The Diamondbacks took three of four games against the Reds and held on to the National League’s last wild-card spot. Arizona leads Cincinnati by 1 1/2 games.
The Reds fell to 9-15 in August, while the Diamondbacks, who began the month with nine straight losses, are 12-12.
“That was a good bounce-back win,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to the Reds’ 8-7 win in 11 innings on Saturday. “Yesterday’s frustration didn’t linger through the entire game. The Reds and us are fighting for the same thing, and there’s no letdown by either team.”
Corbin Carroll walked to lead off the eighth and stole second for his 40th steal of the season. Ketel Marte also walked and Lucas Sims relieved Ian Gibaut (8-3). Sims walked Tommy Pham to load the bases. Walker followed with a deep fly to center that scored Carroll and moved Marte to third.
Pham then stole second and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. walked to again load the bases before Evan Longoria lofted a sac fly to left that scored Marte. Alek Thomas added an RBI single — the only Arizona hit of the inning — to make it 5-2.
Carroll became the second Arizona player (Eric Byrnes in 2007) and just the fourth MLB rookie with at least 20 homers and 40 steals. The others are Tommie Agee (1966, White Sox), Mitchell Page (1977, A’s) and Mike Trout (2012, Angels). Carroll has 22 home runs this season.
Gurriel hit his 20th homer of the season leading off the seventh to tie the game at 2.
Arizona’s Scott McGough (2-7) pitched 1 2/3 innings, striking out three. Ryan Thompson, called up from Triple-A on Sunday, and earned his first save.
Slade Cecconi pitched 5 2/3 innings for Arizona, giving up three hits and one run. He struck out five and walked none. Cecconi retired 15 in a row after giving up a leadoff hit to TJ Friedl. One of the outs came on a strikeout of Nick Martini to end a 14-pitch at-bat.
“That was the longest at-bat I’ve had in my career,” Cecconi said. “Hats off to Martini. Finally got him on a fastball and I was pretty pumped.”
“If Slade doesn’t go out there and execute and get us into the sixth inning, we wouldn’t have been in this position,” Lovullo said, referencing his thin bullpen following the 11-inning game Saturday.
Reds starter Graham Ashcraft left after 6 2/3 innings, following his only walk of the game. He gave up seven hits and two runs while striking out five.
“Graham was outstanding, one of his best starts of the year,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Really good slider and cutter. Our bullpen has pitched a lot.”
Carroll drove one off the center-field wall with two out in the fifth, but settled for a triple as he was out trying for an inside-the-park homer. The relay throw from Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz was clocked at 99.7 mph.
“There were some really talented young players on this field today, and you saw one of them unleash a perfect throw,” Lovullo said. “It was a lot of fun to watch as a baseball fan, but I quickly became (upset) that we didn’t score the run. But I appreciate good baseball.”
Reds: Recalled RHP Daniel Duarte from Louisville and sent RHP Brett Kennedy to the Triple-A team. It’s the fifth time Duarte (3.86 ERA in 18 2/3 IP) has been called up this season.
Diamondbacks: To make room for Thompson, RHP Nabil Crismatt, who pitched two innings on Saturday in his first game for Arizona, was designated for assignment.
Reds: Begin a series in San Francisco. LHP Andrew Abbott (8-3, 3.16) gets the Monday start for Cincinnati.
Diamondbacks: Travel to Los Angeles to open a series with the Dodgers on Monday. RHP Zac Gallen (14-5, 3.11) starts for Arizona.
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