WASHINGTON (AFP) — Ketel Marte smacked a bases-loaded single in the ninth inning to drive in the winning run as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Philadelphia, 2-1, in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
Marte’s third hit of the game delivered a dramatic walk-off victory that pulled Arizona within 2-1 of the Phillies in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series with Games 4 and 5 in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday.
“I’m feeling great,” Marte said.
“That’s what I’m trying to do every time, doing my best to help the team to get a win.”
In Texas, Jose Abreu blasted a three-run home run and Chas McCormick belted a two-run homer to help the defending champion Houston Astros win, 10-3, and level the American League Championship Series at 2-2 with Game 5 on Friday.
“We’re just focused right now,” Houston slugger Jose Altuve said.
“We knew when we were down two games the pressure was on our side.”
“The thing is looking good right now. Nothing is done yet, but to have the opportunity to come back and to tie the series, it’s really important for us.”
The Astros have won 18 of their past 21 road games, including five of five in Texas.
“It just happens,” Houston’s Mauricio Dubon said.
“We come here and focus and everybody does a good job. It’s showing right now.”
In Phoenix, the D-backs avoided falling to the brink of elimination, serving notice after two road losses they were not fading quietly.
“This is our house,” Marte said.
“We’re not finished now. We’ve got a great team. We just have to believe in it.”
Deadlocked 1-1 in the ninth, Arizona started with a walk by Lourdes Gurriel, who stole second base and took third on a Pavin Smith single.
Gurriel was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice by Emmanuel Rivera and Geraldo Perdomo walked to load the bases for Marte’s magical moment, the 30-year-old Dominican second baseman dropping a line drive into center field off losing pitcher Craig Kimbrel.
“I was just sitting on a fastball and he threw me a fastball first pitch,” Marte said.
“I know what kind of hitter I am and he threw me the fastball again and I got the hit.”
Philadelphia opened the scoring in the seventh inning after Arizona’s Andrew Saalfrank walked Bryce Harper and was replaced by Diamondbacks relief pitcher Ryan Thompson.