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Corbin Carroll shines in debut as Diamondbacks complete biggest comeback in franchise history

Jesse Friedman Avatar
August 30, 2022

On the night of his long-awaited major league debut, Corbin Carroll came up to bat in arguably the biggest spot of the game: bases loaded, one out and the go-ahead run on third base.

After working a 2-2 count, Carroll laced a well-placed slider into the left-center field gap for a double. It sent the crowd into a frenzy, brought home two runs and gave his team a 9-7 lead.

Diamondbacks fans would tell you that moment was worth the price of admission. But their game ticket was worth even more on Monday. They saw the largest comeback in franchise history, as the Diamondbacks turned what was once a 7-0 deficit into a 13-7 victory against the Phillies.

“When you talk about franchise firsts and biggests and historical things like that, I’m proud of that, I really am,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “This is a very tough team, and they want to win baseball games. They’re hungry.”

Every Cinderella story starts with some difficulty — and Madison Bumgarner had a lot of it in the first inning. Five of the six batted balls against the D-backs’ lefty had exit velocities of 98 MPH or higher, leading to two quick runs. It didn’t get better from there.

By the middle of the fourth inning, Bumgarner had recorded 11 outs and allowed 11 hits. He left the game with arguably the worst pitching line of his Diamondbacks career, allowing seven runs over 3.2 innings with two strikeouts.

If it is any consolation, Bumgarner’s velocity, movement and spin rates were all nearly identical to his season norms. After the game, he pegged location as the primary source of his struggles.

“Definitely missed over the plate more times than I would like, but I really think that’s all it was tonight,” Bumgarner said. “The stuff was good.”

Staring down a 7-0 deficit, the D-backs were still hitless against Phillies lefty Ranger Suarez entering the bottom of the fourth. That changed with one out when Ketel Marte snuck a grounder through the left side of the infield for a single. The D-backs went on to score six runs in the frame, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from Carson Kelly with two outs that pulled his team within a run and chased Suarez from the game.

After a quick 1-2-3 fifth from Luis Frías, Marte kickstarted another rally, this time with a double down the left-field line. After a pair of walks for Christian Walker and Emmanuel Rivera, Jake McCarthy tied the game on a hit-by-pitch that forced in a run. It was a 7-7 game.

Then came Carroll, who reached on an error in his previous at-bat but was still looking for his first big-league hit. His two-run double proved to be the difference in the game.

Shortly after Carroll’s hit, Phoenix Suns forward and noted Phillies fan Mikal Bridges voiced his disbelief, as Philadelphia’s 7-0 advantage dissolved in the span of one inning.

The Diamondbacks went on to add four runs to their lead, including a solo home run by Stone Garrett, his second in as many days. Frías, Caleb Smith and Reyes Moronta held the Phillies scoreless out of the bullpen over 5.1 combined innings.

When asked what he would remember most from his debut, Carroll’s answer had nothing to do with his big hit.

“Just how grounded I felt,” he said. “It felt like just being out there with friends.”

Carroll acknowledged before the game how much his familiarity with teammates helped on his first day, having already played with everyone in the Diamondbacks’ lineup except for recent newcomer Emmanuel Rivera.

Of course, he was familiar with some of the Phillies’ players, too. It is hard not to notice when guys like Bryce Harper are in the other dugout.

“It was what you dream of as a little kid,” Carroll said. “I watched Jean Segura for a number of years in Seattle growing up.

“One of my earliest memories watching [baseball] is Bumgarner doing what he did in San Francisco.”

Unfortunately, Bumgarner hasn’t looked like his old San Francisco self his last few times out. Following his outing on Monday, he now has an 8.63 ERA over his last six starts. Nonetheless, Lovullo was adamant that the Diamondbacks lefty could turn things around.

“He’s just grinding as hard as I’ve ever seen,” Lovullo said. “I want him to know that he’s not alone. We’re with him. We’re gonna coach him up, teach him up and keep pushing him.

“He’s gonna figure it out.”

Despite Bumgarner’s outing, Monday marked one of the most exciting days in recent Diamondbacks history. Carroll is one of several Diamondbacks prospects who could breathe long-lasting life into an organization whose relevance has faded in and out for more than a decade. Lovullo liked what he saw from his youngsters in the win.

“As they are unfolding right before our very eyes, it’s really nice to see how fast we were playing this game and how aggressively and how fearless those young players are playing the game,” Lovullo said. “It was a lot of fun to watch.”

Carroll’s teammate and good friend Alek Thomas attempted to give him a Gatorade shower during a post-game interview.

Fittingly, Carroll was too quick. The shower landed on the field instead.

“I saw him too easily,” Carroll joked after the game. “I kept an eye on him. I knew he was going to do something.”

Follow Jesse Friedman on Twitter

Top photo: Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic 

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