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Baby ‘Backs Carroll, Moreno homer in Arizona comeback

Baby ‘Backs Carroll, Moreno homer in Arizona comeback

7:02 AM UTC

MILWAUKEE — One of the biggest questions entering the National League Wild Card Series between the Brewers and D-backs was how much experience matters in the postseason.

In Game 1, a young Arizona team let its bats do the talking.

Rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll and second-year catcher Gabriel Moreno homered to power the D-backs to a come-from-behind, 6-3 victory Tuesday night at American Family Field.

It marked the seventh time in postseason history a team has gotten home runs from multiple players 23 years old or younger. Tuesday was the first time it happened with players making their postseason debuts.

“I felt like the youngsters were ready,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group for what they did, falling behind 3-0 in an away ballpark in a playoff scenario. They fought all night long — and that was the entire team, as well.”

Carroll has provided a spark atop the D-backs’ lineup all season, and his postseason debut was no different. At 23 years and 43 days old, he became the youngest D-backs player to hit a postseason home run.

The D-backs were in a three-run hole against Brewers ace Corbin Burnes when Carroll stepped to the plate in the third inning. He grounded out against a Burnes curveball to lead off the game, after Burnes threw three straight cutters.

Burnes has a five-pitch arsenal and throws his cutter, curveball and changeup most frequently. Carroll knew he had to be ready for anything, and Burnes threw him a 1-1 changeup knee-high. Carroll hit it a Statcast-projected 106.9 mph and 444 feet for a two-run homer to right field.

“It was more of a reaction to a pitch I saw well, and it was toward the middle of the plate,” Carroll said. “But I think with him, you’ve got to honor all three. He has proven to me over the course of — I think this is our fifth time facing him — that he’ll throw all three and has pretty good command over all three.”

Carroll became the fourth rookie in D-backs history to homer in the postseason, joining Erubiel Durazo (1999), Mark Reynolds (2007) and Paul Goldschmidt (2011). Reynolds and Goldschmidt each hit two.

Carroll’s drive energized Arizona’s dugout.

“That was the spark,” said first baseman Christian Walker. “It just kind of let everybody know, ‘Hey, we’re in this.’ … It kind of took the edge off.”

Indeed. Ketel Marte made it back-to-back home runs when he crushed Burnes’ next pitch — a Statcast-projected 108.2 mph screamer over the right-field fence.

Momentum appeared to be shifting toward Milwaukee in the bottom of the third, but the Brewers didn’t score despite having two on with one out and the bases loaded with two outs. That set the table for Moreno.

Moreno led off the top of the fourth and worked a 2-2 count against Burnes. Burnes hung a slider on the fifth pitch, and Moreno made him pay with a 425-foot solo homer that sailed beyond the Brewers’ bullpen in left-center field.

“First off, giving thanks to God,” Moreno said through an interpreter. “I went in there and battled during the at-bat. That pitch was pretty high, and I was able to get it out of the park.”

Moreno joined some exclusive company with his homer:

• At 23 years and 231 days, Moreno is the second-youngest catcher to homer in his postseason debut. Brian McCann (21 years, 228 days) went deep in Game 2 of the 2005 NLDS.

• Moreno is the second-youngest D-backs player to homer in the postseason, behind Carroll.

• Moreno is the youngest catcher to hit a postseason home run since Buster Posey (23 years, 218 days old) in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series.

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