PHILADELPHIA – Corbin Carroll went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, and the Arizona Diamondbacks made it to the World Series for the first time in 22 years on Tuesday night by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4 in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series :2 defeated.
Arizona plays the Texas Rangers in the World Series, with Game 1 scheduled for Friday night at Globe Life Field.
In their only other appearance in the Fall Classic, the Diamondbacks won a seven-game thriller against the New York Yankees in 2001.
The young Diamondbacks, who squeezed into the playoffs as the last NL wild card with an 84-78 record, celebrated their comeback from an 0-2 hole in the NLCS. They won Games 6 and 7 in Philadelphia, where the defending National League champions had gone 12-2 in the last two postseasons – including 11-0 in NL playoff games.
Brandon Pfaadt threw seven hits in four innings and, along with five relievers, managed the surprise NL pennant winner out of late-inning jams.
Bryce Harper and the rest of the Phillies will have to reflect this offseason on how they missed a second straight trip to the World Series. Philadelphia returned home with a pennant win but couldn’t finish the game, falling behind early in Game 6 and then losing the first Game 7 in the franchise’s 141-year history.
Kevin Ginkel, the fourth reserve for Arizona, showed his skills with an absolutely gutsy seventh place finish. After left-hander Andrew Saalfrank walked consecutive batters with one out, Ginkel came in and retired Trea Turner and Harper on flyouts to center field.
Ginkel then struck out all three batters in the eighth, and Paul Sewald threw a perfect ninth pitch for his sixth save of the postseason.
Arizona’s bullpen slammed the door on Philadelphia’s powerful lineup – silencing Phillies fans who would soon cry alone.
Again, it was the Diamondbacks who struck first when Christian Walker hit a fielder’s choice off Phillies starter Ranger Suarez in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. It may have seemed like a rather harmless run. But Arizona was already 5-0 this postseason when it scored first, and the run – similar to the Diamondbacks’ three-run second in Game 6 – daunted a boisterous crowd prepared for the clinch.
Well, Phillies fans have seen one.
Just not the pennant winner they paid to watch at Citizens Bank Park.
Pfaadt, who had nine hits in Game 3, allowed Alec Bohm to tie the game with a solo home run in Game 2, giving the crowd a much-needed jolt into offense. Bohm pointed to his ring finger, symbolizing the World Series bling he wanted to win.
Bohm was at work again in the fourth period as he scored a brace from Bryson Stott for a 2-1 lead.
But the free-swinging Phillies missed prime opportunities. With runners on the corners, Nick Castellanos struck out — at that point 0 for 21 with 11 strikeouts since a home run in Game 1 — and after a walk to Brandon Marsh, Johan Rojas struck out to end Game 4.
Manager Rob Thomson had few opportunities to score Rojas, so he let the easy-hitting midfielder make his cuts and promptly fell to 3-for-22 in the NLCS.
Pfaadt’s strikeout gave the Diamondbacks a sigh of relief.
Suarez struck out Ketel Marte in the fifth for the third straight time, giving him two outs and a runner at second. Carroll – just 3 of 23 in the first six games of the series – hit an RBI single for his third hit in Game 7, which Suarez chased. Gabriel Moreno made it 3-2 with a single off Jeff Hoffman, and the Diamondbacks never looked back.
Pfaadt had done his part and the rookie righty, who went just 3-9 this year, kept Arizona – which beat the Brewers and Dodgers to reach the NLCS – in position for one of its biggest wins in franchise history.
“He knows when he’s the center of attention,” coach Torey Lovullo said before Game 7. “I think he’s used to it.”
In the seventh round, Carroll hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.
By the time the Phillies broke the emergency in the seventh against ace Zack Wheeler, it was too late. The Phillies team, which hit home runs at a record pace against Miami and Atlanta, never benefited from the big hits at home.
Lovullo said he saw a loose Diamondbacks team in the clubhouse before the game that was ready to win.
“They make calls and check what they want to check,” Lovullo said. “There are different conversations, groups of two or three people. They are in the dining room eating their Philly cheesesteaks. A few boys are playing games. So it’s very typical.”
After winning their first six home postseason games this year, the Phillies dropped their last two games and fell to 28-13 in the postseason at Citizens Bank Park.