– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
PHOENIX — One of the unlikeliest of swings lifted the Arizona Diamondbacks to, more than likely, one of their most unlikely of victories that they will post throughout the 2019 season.
Pinch-hitter Jarrod Dyson, who had hit all of 15 home runs in his 10-year Major League career going into his latest plate appearance, lifted a two-run shot over the right field wall to cap a three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning for Arizona in its 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
After falling behind 0-2 to Rangers closer Jose Leclerc, Dyson fought back to even the count before depositing a 2-2 slider into the right field bleachers to complete the comeback and improve the D-backs’ record to 3-1 on their opening nine-game home stand to start the season.
“That’s a tough guy to try and put a good at-bat against,” said Dyson, who has now hit two of his 16 career home runs against Leclerc. “I tried to just stick with my game plan and get a pitch I could handle. Obviously, I was chasing earlier in the at-bat, so I had to settle down and just see the ball and pick my pitch. I just tried to pick me a good pitch over the middle of the plate and tried to do a little damage with it. I ended up getting a pitch I could handle and got lucky.”
Dyson may have thought it was luck, but manager Torey Lovullo and his staff had thought through this same situation before it materialized on Monday night, trying to figure out who would be the best person off the bench to have up in a possible game-winning situation against Leclerc.
“You try to identify the best targets when you’re going up against closers,” Lovullo said. “I had a lot of information in front of me. Darnell Coles and I had a conversation. We lined up the best possibilities through his eyes. You know, you trust your coaches, the ones that know them best, and then you make your decision.”
Preceding Dyson’s heroics, Christian Walker singled to begin the ninth off of Leclerc before Eduardo Escobar drive Walker in on a double to centerfield to cut Texas’ lead to 4-3. Nick Ahmed then struck out before Dyson came up and won the game with the final swing of the contest.
The loss spoiled a wonderful outing from Rangers’ opening day starter Mike Minor, who allowed just two runs on five hits through seven full innings. Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus each had two hits, with Andrus driving in a pair on runs, including an RBI double in the first inning off of D-backs starter Zack Greinke for the first run of the game.
Greinke went six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs — three earned — and seven hits while striking out nine. Matt Andriese pitched the final two innings for Arizona in earning his second win in three appearances this season.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday’s game, with all photos taken by Phoenix-area photographer Sammantha-Maria Herbaugh. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently three pictures in total.