PHOENIX (AP) — The crack of the bat was a stunner, jolting the sellout crowd at Chase Field into a frenzy.
Light-hitting Alek Thomas, who had lost his spot in the starting lineup because of consistently weak at-bats, had just provided the most important swing of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ storybook season.
“I was just screaming as loud as I could,” D-backs outfielder Pavin Smith said. “I think everyone was in the whole stadium.”
Thomas hit a tying, two-run homer in a three-run eighth inning, Gabriel Moreno followed with a go-ahead single and the D-backs stunned the Philadelphia Phillies with a 6-5 victory on Friday night that tied the NL Championship Series at two games apiece.
Arizona trailed 5-2 before Orion Kerkering’s bases-loaded walk to Christian Walker with two outs in the seventh.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled leading off the eighth against Craig Kimbrel, who also gave up Ketel Marte’s game-ending single in Game 3. Thomas, pinch hitting for Emmanuel Rivera with one out, sent a full-count fastball splashing into the right-center field swimming pool to tie the score 5-5 as 47,806 fans roared.
“That play is definitely something you see in your dreams,” the 23-year-old Thomas said. “So for it to come in real life, for it to happen to me, it’s awesome. Just so grateful to have that moment.”
Marte singled with two outs, Corbin Carroll was hit by a pitch and José Alvarado relieved. Moreno laced a single to left-center to drive in the go-ahead run.
Kyle Schwarber, whose fourth-inning homer had sparked Philadelphia’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit, doubled with two outs in the ninth off Paul Sewald, Arizona’s eighth pitcher. Sewald struck out Trea Turner for his fifth save of the postseason.
“Huge contributions from everyone,” Carroll said. “We knew we need it, being a bullpen game. Some huge hits today — almost too many to count. An unbelievable win.”
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night.
Houston earlier scored three times in the ninth to win 5-4 at Texas and take a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series. It was the first time in major league history two teams rallied to win postseason games on the same day after trailing by two runs or more in the eighth inning or later.
Philadelphia was let down by its usually reliable bullpen. The last four — Gregory Soto, Kerkering, Kimbrel and Alvarado — threw just 25 of 54 pitches for strikes.
“I saw a lot of pitchers who looked sped-up to me,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “That is what happens when you fall behind counts and let baserunners on. The place get loud. They start feeling the crowd.”
Philadelphia had some other miscues. Bohm was charged for an error after a misplayed grounder. Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez missed an opportunity to turn a double play in the first inning when he lost track of the outs, thinking their were already two and throwing to first base.
“We’ve got to play better baseball,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Arizona, in the postseason for the first time since 2017, lost the first two games of the series at Citizens Bank Park. The Diamondbacks built a two-run lead against the defending NL champions on run-scoring singles by Rivera in the second and Moreno in the third.
Schwarber’s homer was his fourth of this postseason and the 19th of his postseason career, passing Reggie Jackson for most among left-handed batters.
Brandon Marsh’s two-out RBI double tied the score in the fifth, and the Phillies opened a 4-2 lead in the sixth after three straight walks by rookie lefty Andrew Saalfrank.
Bohm followed with a chopper down the third-base line off Ryan Thompson. Rivera gloved the ball with a backhand grab that took him into foul territory and made an off-balance throw home from near the coach’s box. The ball short-hopped Moreno and bounced off the catcher as two runs scored, one on the hit and one on the throwing error.
Turner added a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
But it wasn’t enough for the Phillies, who are suddenly scrambling for momentum after their power surge slowed.
“Never good to lose,” Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott said. “We’ve got to come back out tomorrow and play our game. I think we will be good.”
Gurriel saved a potential extra-base hit in the second with a leaping catch at the left field wall after a drive by Realmuto.
Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Three-time NBA All-Star Devin Booker was also in attendance, drawing a large cheer when he was pictured on the video board.
KEEPING IT COOL
The temperature inside Chase Field was 76 at game time. It was 102 outside the retractable-roof ballpark.
Philadelphia RHP Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.37 ERA postseason) starts Saturday night against RHP Zac Gallen (2-1, 4.96 ERA).
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