PHOENIX - Rookie Wyatt Mathisen hit his first two career homers, fellow rookie Daulton Varsho knocked in the go-ahead run with a triple, and the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sept. 23.
The Diamondbacks trailed 3-1 going into the sixth but rallied for a six-run inning off Rangers pitchers Wes Benjamin, Nick Goody and Brett Martin. Arizona sent 10 batters to the plate. Carson Kelly had a game-tying, two-run single, Varsho followed with the go-ahead triple, and then Mathisen and Tim Locastro hit back-to-back homers to push the lead to 7-3.
It was a welcome offensive outburst for Arizona, which has been one of the worst offensive teams in the big leagues this season. Manager Torey Lovullo said he’s proud his team has continued to improve, even in the final week of a season with no hope for the playoffs.
“There was a lot of work that went into that, making those good things happen,” Lovullo said. “From an offensive standpoint, we hit the pitch we were looking for. Certainly, the highlight for me was Wyatt Mathisen with a couple home runs, his first two. Big ones, too.”
Mathisen was batting ninth in the D-backs order and had just two hits in his first 19 big-league at-bats, but he smashed homers in back-to-back innings, the fifth and sixth, with both clearing the left-center field wall. He played eight seasons in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in 2020.
“It’s a dream come true to hit home runs in the big leagues,” Mathisen said. “It was awesome.”
Benjamin was impressive through the first five innings of his first big-league start, giving up just one run on Mathisen’s solo homer. But the first two D-backs batters of the sixth reached on hard-hit singles, which started the decisive rally. The left-hander gave up three runs on seven hits over five innings.
Goody (0-2) took the loss, giving up three earned runs and recording only one out.
“Benjamin threw the ball pretty well, kept them off-balance the whole game,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “Ran into some quick trouble there in that sixth inning, but Goody threw some really good sliders, just the ones he kind of left up. They didn’t miss anything, that’s the big key.”
Sam Huff had two doubles for the Rangers. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a triple and two RBIs.
D-backs starting pitcher Alex Young gave up three runs on six hits over five innings. Keury Mella (2-0) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief. The D-backs swept the two-game series from the Rangers.
The Rangers had a 6-24 record away from Globe Life Field and finished the current road trip with a 2-7 record. The Diamondbacks weren’t much better with a 9-21 mark in their 30-game road schedule. Both teams finish the shortened season with a series at home.
Woodward didn’t see the end of the Rangers’ final road loss. He was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.
RARE ROOKIE FEAT
Mathisen is just the second D-backs player in franchise history to hit his first two career homers in the same game. The other was Conor Jackson in 2005.
It’s been a long road to the big leagues for Mathisen, who languished for years in the minors after being drafted in the second round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012. The 26-year-old was signed by the D-backs before last season as a minor-league free agent and had 23 homers in Triple-A in 2019.
Rangers: Texas wraps up its season with a four-game home series against the Houston Astros. RHP Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) makes his final start in the opener on Thursday.
Diamondbacks: Arizona has a day off on Thursday before a doubleheader on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. The D-backs will start RHP Taylor Clarke (2-0, 3.99) and RHP Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00).