Martinez's clutch hit secures top wildcard for Diamondbacks

AP
The comeback victory over Miami ensured Arizona will host the National League wildcard game on October 4.
AP

Of course it was JD Martinez who got the hit that secured home-field advantage in the wildcard game for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He's been getting big hit after big hit ever since coming over from Detroit before Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline.

But, as he pointed out, the quest for a championship is only just beginning for the Diamondbacks.

"This isn't it," Martinez said. "They only get bigger from here. In my opinion we are not in the playoffs yet. If we win that wildcard then we are in it."

Martinez lined a two-out RBI single to deep left field with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, lifting Arizona over the Miami Marlins 3-2 on Sunday to clinch the top wildcard in the National League.

"JD's been unbelievable," first-year manager Torey Lovullo said. "How fitting that the guy you pick up in a big mid-season push gets the big hit today. It makes everything very special."

The Diamondbacks, who won only 69 games a year ago but are 90-66 this season, were already assured a playoff berth earlier in the day when St Louis lost at Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee was beaten at home by the Chicago Cubs.

The comeback victory over Miami ensured Arizona will host the NL wildcard game on October 4.

The Diamondbacks think they're ready for the tension of that elimination game.

"It's one thing I'm going to keep saying: We just really get along, man," said Archie Bradley, the bearded late-inning reliever and free spirit who has become a fan favorite. "We really do care for each other. We really do believe in each other. Something special's going on here."

Fernando Rodney (5-4) pitched a perfect inning for the win.

A throwing error by reliever Justin Nicolino (2-3) on Kristopher Negron's sacrifice bunt helped load the bases with no outs in the Arizona ninth. Ketel Marte and Paul Goldschmidt each hit into a forceout at home. That brought up Martinez, who has been spectacular since joining the Diamondbacks. He sent Javy Guerra's pitch on a line shot over the head of left fielder Marcell Ozuna to win it.

Giancarlo Stanton and Brian Anderson each doubled in a run for the Marlins.

Chris Herrmann homered for the Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks learned they had clinched a postseason spot halfway through the fourth inning with an announcement on the big message board.

It's the sixth time Arizona has advanced to the postseason in its 20-year history. The other years were 1999, 2001 (World Series champion), 2002, 2007 and 2011.

AFP

Arizona Diamondbacks players celebrate in the outfield pool after defeating the Miami Marlins 3-2 and clinching a postseason berth following their MLB game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on September 24, 2017.

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