video thumbnail

Overbay works a walk-off walk in the 10th

PHOENIX -- The magic never seems to cease.

On a Saturday evening when the D-backs honored their team that won the 2001 World Series at Chase Field, the current edition clicked off an unexpected come-from-behind victory just like Game 7 of that World Series almost a decade ago.

This time, Chris Young and Lyle Overbay opened the ninth with consecutive homers off Padres closer Heath Bell, sending the game into extra innings. And the D-backs won, 6-5, in the 10th on a bases-loaded, two-out walk to Overbay that didn't occur without some controversy, as San Diego protested the final play and result.

"This was an exciting win for us tonight," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "But we'll come out and play hard tomorrow. San Diego is playing us tough. They'll be after us. We've got to keep pushing on it. We know where we want to go. I tell you guys every day that we're trying to remain humble because we could be derailed from our goal."

The victory extended Arizona's club record home winning streak to 15 games and was their 16th victory in the past 18 games overall. They now lead the Giants by 9 1/2 games in the National League West and the Brewers by a half-game for the second best record in the NL behind Philadelphia.

If the playoffs were to start on Sunday, the D-backs would host Wild Card-winning Atlanta in their best-of-five NL Division Series.

Heading into Sunday's series finale here against the Padres, Arizona's magic number is any combination of eight wins and San Francisco losses to clinch its first division title since 2007 and fifth in the club's 14-year history.

The Padres filed a protest because Miguel Montero, who was on second, didn't touch third base after the climactic four-pitch walk to Overbay off Joe Thatcher, San Diego's sixth pitcher, who had just entered the game.

"We were told that only the runner has to touch home and the batter has to touch first," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We wanted all runners to touch their bases. We filed a protest. It's in the hands of Major League Baseball at this point."

Major League Rule 4.09(b) explicitly says, though, that when a bases-loaded walk ends a game, only the batter has to touch first and the runner on third has to touch home. The other runners aren't forced to touch their bases.

Black was told this by crew chief and plate umpire Tim Welke, who immediately made a report to his MLB superiors. The protest will likely be rejected.

Geoff Blum was the runner on first and Justin Upton was on third.

"I'm telling you I touched second and Lyle touched first and I know that J-Up hit home," Blum said. "But I know for a fact that Miguel Montero did not touch third. I saw it happen."

For his part, Montero had very little to say on the matter.

"I don't care. We won the game. That's all I have to say," Montero said.

The game was played before a crowd of 48,017, the second sellout of the season and the first since Opening Day, a 13-2 victory over the Reds on April 8, and it was a humdinger played in a World Series atmosphere.

The fans came out to cheer their heroes on the 10th anniversary of defeating the Yankees in seven chilling games in the Fall Classic, but they were offered a thrilling contest on Saturday as the game shifted back and forth.

On Nov. 4, 2001, the D-backs went into the ninth trailing the Yankees, 2-1, with ace closer Mariano Rivera on the mound. Tony Womack tied the score with a double and Luis Gonzalez won it with a single to left over a drawn-in infield.

On Saturday night, the D-backs went into the ninth trailing, 5-3, with Bell on the mound trying to record a four-out save. Six pitches later, the score was tied on the back-to-back homers by Young and Overbay. Bell hadn't allowed two homers in an outing in five years and had only given up two all season. He has now blown five saves in 41 opportunities.

The evening was rife with irony for Overbay, who debuted on Arizona's 2001 team, but had only one hit in two at-bats that September and wasn't on the postseason roster. He also drove in the winning run on Friday night with an eighth-inning single.

In any event, Overbay was introduced on the field before the game as a member of that team along with 31 other players, former manager Bob Brenly, former general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. and Jerry Colangelo, who was managing general partner and architect of that team.

Adding more spice to it all is the fact that Overbay was released by the Pirates little more than a month ago and signed by the D-backs on Aug. 13. Call it karma.

"Jerry Colangelo said something to me as I was standing there talking to him," Gibson said. "He said it was kind of weird that [Overbay] came up in September of that year and here he is standing out there in that uniform again. It was a coincidence, but it was a really special night and it was awesome. It was great to see all those guys. The ceremony was outstanding. And I'd like to say that the way we played tonight is very reflective of the way they played in 2001." Comments