Roberts' walk-off caps D-backs' comeback

Roberts' walk-off caps D-backs' comeback

Roberts' walk-off caps D-backs' comeback
PHOENIX -- All Ryan Roberts was trying to do was not make the final out.

Just put the ball in play and keep the rally going.

Instead, the 31-year-old, who faced heavy criticism after batting .152 in April, did much more than that in sending the D-backs to the type of victory that defined their division-winning season a year ago.

Trailing by two with two outs and a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday, Roberts drove a fastball from Brian Fuentes into the left-center-field bleachers, lifting the D-backs to a 9-8 win over the Athletics, who had led, 6-0, after an inning and a half.

"That feeling is indescribable; it's awesome," Roberts said. "I'm just happy to be in the situation I was in. I was just trying to get a good pitch the whole at-bat. I didn't want to be the last out."

The six-run comeback victory tied the record for the largest in franchise history. The win also marked the first time this season the D-backs have won when trailing after eight innings.

"We just knew we weren't going to give in that early. We had to keep grinding until the end" D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've done a lot of talking lately, so for them to have the results, it helps imprint the right visualization."

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After Fuentes retired the first two batters of the ninth, a Chris Young walk and Aaron Hill single set up Roberts' heroics.

"[Roberts] had the quality at-bat, but you have to think about the guys who got on in front of him down to our last out," Gibson said. "If you cash it in, you have no shot. You need to have a runner, and they all worked hard. Great execution."

Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki set up on Robert's walk-off homer for a pitch down and away, but the fastball ended up tailing middle in.

"I was struggling to keep the ball in the strike zone. I lost my tempo or something," Fuentes said. "They're a good team. I didn't expect them to roll over after we scored six runs."

D-backs starter Daniel Hudson lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs, all in the second, on eight hits.

The tough night was Hudson's shortest outing of his career as a starter. His most abbreviated start coming in came on Aug. 8, 2011, when he threw three innings against the Astros, serving up seven runs (four earned).

"Guys really picked me up tonight. We can walk away happy," Hudson said. "I didn't have the best command, they just put some good swings on it. Couple inches here or there, it was just one of those nights."

Cliff Pennington opened up the scoring in the second with a RBI double down the right-field line, then starting pitcher Tommy Milone drove in two runs with his second hit in seven career at-bats. His only other hit came last year while with the Nationals, when he knocked out a three-run homer.

Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Seth Smith followed with consecutive two-out hits to knock Hudson out of the game.

"He didn't have very good command and he got into some bad counts," Gibson said of Hudson. "Give them some credit, though, they hit good pitches, too, but he was very inconsistent with what he was trying to do."

Josh Collmenter came out of the 'pen to rescue Hudson and helped the D-backs get within striking distance, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless frames and giving up just three hits while striking out six.

"He stepped up, threw up some zeros," Hudson said. "He threw the ball well, got some punchouts and couldn't have done a better job."

Starting the comeback in the bottom half of the second, Jason Kubel hit a two-run homer to straightaway center field after Willie Bloomquist drove in Roberts with a two-out single one batter earlier.

Playing long ball again, Paul Goldschmidt, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in the first inning, hit his sixth homer in the past 10 games in the fifth to make it 6-4.

"There was always a positive feeling in the dugout," Goldschmidt said. "Guys kept chipping away. Obviously anytime you can get a win, it's great, but that was extra exciting. Just a great job by everyone to not let the game get out of hand."

After D-backs reliever Craig Breslow, pitching against his former team for the first time since being traded in the offseason, allowed a two-out homer to Smith in the sixth, Kubel and Justin Upton added RBI hits in the bottom of the inning, to make it 8-6 and set up Roberts' walk-off in the ninth.

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for . This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.