D-backs force Game 7 with 5-1 win over Phillies in NLCS

Fans reflect on the Diamondbacks getting the win in Game 6 of the NLCS and are now one win away from the World Series.
Published: Oct. 23, 2023 at 5:10 PM MST
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PHILADELPHIA (3TV/CBS 5/AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks had back-to-back home runs for the third time this postseason, and Merrill Kelly gave up only one run as the D-backs forced a Game 7 with a 5-1 victory in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series on Monday. The winner of Tuesday night’s game advances to the World Series against Houston or Texas, who played Game 7 of the AL Championship later Monday night.

“I’m expecting some fun. It’s going to be fun,” Kelly said. “Game 7, obviously, they talk about, it’s the best words in sports. I think the fact that we’re here, I don’t think anybody thought we were going to take them to Game 6. I don’t think anybody thought we were even going to make it to Game 1. I don’t think anybody thought we were going to make it past Milwaukee, to be honest with you.”

Tommy Pham went yard in the second, followed by Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. But the D-backs weren’t done scoring in the second. After Alek Thomas was walked, Evan Longoria doubled to center, and Thomas scored, giving the Diamondbacks a 3-0 lead. It was the first time the Phillies trailed by more than two runs in the postseason. Longoria, who played for Tampa Bay against the Phillies in the 2008 World Series, had been 1 for 12 in the series.

The Phillies got on the board in the bottom of the inning when Brand Marsh got hit to second, scoring J.T. Realmuto. Marsh advanced to second when Corbin Carroll tried to throw out Realmuto. After walking Kyle Schwarber, Merrill Kelly then got out of the jam by striking out Trea Turner to end the inning.

Kelly retired Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper in order in the fifth and the Diamondbacks ahead 4-1. When Kelly retired to the dugout, Lovullo told the right-hander he was done. Kelly, who had thrown 90 pitches, appeared agitated as he gestured with his glove as if to point out he struck out Schwarber and Harper in the inning and had much more in the tank. “Getting through Schwarber, Harper and Turner right there in that fifth I figured I’d probably would be going out there for the sixth,” Kelly said. “It kind of just caught me off guard a little bit. But that’s Torey’s job. My job is to pitch. His job is to make the decisions, and at the end of the day, I got to live with those decisions.”

No worries. The bullpen, which has been a weak spot for the D-backs during the regular season, once again was locked down, pitching four shutout innings.

Ketel Marte extended his hitting streak to 15 postseason games in the bottom of the fifth with a triple that drove in Corbin Carroll, making it 4-1 D-backs. That ties for the all-time record for the longest postseason hitting streak to start a career. It also marked the end of the night for Phillies’ pitcher Aaron Nola. He pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up four earned on six hits. Michael Lorenzen got out of the inning with Gabriel Moreno grounding out and Pham striking out.

Marte got his second hit of the game with an RBI single in the top of the seventh, adding to the D-backs’ lead for a 5-1 advantage.

Moreno ended the Phillies’ threat in the seventh when he blocked a wild pitch, and Schwarber tried to take second. But Moreno had a perfect throw, and Schwarber was called out.

In the ninth, Perdomo hit a bunt, but Gregory Soto made a bad throw, and Perdomo made it to second. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt but was stranded.

The Diamondbacks came ready in Game 6 to back up the bold pregame words from manager Torey Lovullo and tamed Phillies bats and the hostile home crowd. “Getting there is really important, so we have that all-in mentality,” Lovullo said ahead of Game 6. “We didn’t come cross-country to get our asses kicked. We came here to play our best baseball game, and our guys will be ready to go.”

Brandon Pfaadt starts for Arizona and Ranger Suárez for Philadelphia in what will be the first Game 7 in Phillies history.

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