(Photo credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
The Arizona Diamondbacks bolstered their chances in the National League wild-card race Tuesday with a win against Chicago's American League team following a wrenching loss by the city's NL club.
Visiting Arizona will aim to keep pushing toward the playoffs Wednesday as it continues a series against the White Sox.
The Diamondbacks (83-74) grabbed a one-game lead on the Chicago Cubs for the second of three NL wild-card spots with five games remaining. Chicago squandered a 6-0 lead in Atlanta on Tuesday en route to a 7-6 loss to the Braves.
"We're not dwelling on other games," Arizona's Christian Walker said. "We're not expecting other teams to get us in. But also, when we see the scores change and the lead change in games like that, we're aware of it and we're rooting for the teams that we need to win, for sure."
Miami is a half-game behind the Cubs, while Cincinnati stands 1 frac12; games out of the third wild card.
It's a tight race, to be sure, but the Diamondbacks like how they're swinging the bats. Walker led the charge in Tuesday's series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field, blasting two home runs and a bases-clearing triple en route to a six-RBI day.
Walker's breakout effort put him over 100 RBIs for the season, making him the first Diamondback to achieve that feat since 2019.
Chicago (60-97) has lost four of six. The White Sox must win three of their remaining five games to avoid the franchise's first 100-loss season since 2018.
The pursuit to escape such futility will come without the club's lone All-Star. The White Sox on Tuesday placed center fielder Luis Robert Jr. on the injured list with a mild MCL sprain in his left knee.
In his fourth major league season, Robert played a career-best 145 games while setting personal bests in numerous other categories, including home runs (38), RBIs (80), runs (90) and stolen bases (20). He batted .264.
"You can learn every year, and I definitely learned a lot this year," Robert said through an interpreter. "For next year, I would like to be better driving in runners in scoring position. In situations of the game, there's some stuff I think I can do better, too.
"Be more aware of what the pitchers want to do with me in different situations. Don't chase too many pitches. Those are things I can improve for next year."
With 20 home runs and 78 RBIs, Andrew Vaughn ranks second on the team in both categories. Eloy Jimenez is two homers shy of his second career 20-home run season after hitting a three-run blast as part of a four-RBI effort Tuesday.
Arizona rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (2-9, 6.08 ERA) is set to oppose White Sox righty Luis Patino (0-0, 4.24).
Pfaadt hasn't faced the White Sox in his career. In five interleague starts, he is 0-3 with an 11.51 ERA.
Patino has made seven relief appearances this season, including six since he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Sept. 1. His longest outing lasted four innings. Patino allowed two runs and two hits in 1 2/3 innings in his lone appearance against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have won nine straight games against the White Sox, dating to 2014.
--Field Level Media