They occurred seconds before the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 in 12 innings—a win that wasn’t secured until Cintron’s three-run homer sailed into the right-field seats after 3:31 of play.
“I was thinking it was the same kind of ball,” said Cintron, who uppercut a 0-1 pitch by Duaner Sanchez (4-7) into the right-field seats with pinch-runner Luis Terrero and Shawn Green aboard on a walk and a single.
It was the Diamondbacks’ first walkoff homer since a pinch-hit drive Cintron hit against Atlanta’s Jim Brower on July 22.
“This one was a changeup,” Cintron said. “The other one was a slider, both down and in. You never go up expecting to hit the ball out, but I’m a low-ball hitter.”
Manager Bob Melvin couldn’t have agreed more.
“You’d think he was a 2-handicap golfer the way he keeps golfing those balls over the right-field fence,” Melvin said. “It certainly was a situation where we could use a big hit like that. We had some opportunites—probably more than they did—but it only takes one big hit.”
Bulger (1-0), the seventh Arizona reliever, pitched the 12th and earned his first major league victory, allowing the Diamondbacks’ first series sweep since they took three from the Dodgers in April.
The rookie, who made his major league debut Aug. 26, got a feeling something good was going to happen when Sanchez walked Tony Clark after getting two out in the 12th. Terrero went in to run for Clark, and Green singled to set the stage.
“Two-out walks will come back to bite you, and I was hoping it would come back on Sanchez,” Bulger said.
Jeff Kent had a three-run homer for the Dodgers, who lost their sixth in a row.
“It was nice to start off the way we did,” Dodgers right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. said. “You play nine innings and you never know, but it looked like we had a pretty good shot today.”
Clark had a two-run homer off Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver that tied the game at 3 in the third inning.
Chad Tracy and Cintron each had sacrifice flies for the Diamondbacks— Cintron’s breaking a 3-3 tie in the sixth.
Kent’s homer came off Arizona starter Shawn Estes, who allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Weaver also worked six innings, allowing four runs and nine hits.
Melvin’s decision to start Cintron at third base and rest regular Troy Glaus for the weekend series against San Diego was tested quickly as Willy Aybar hit a sharp grounder past him along the line for a double in the first inning.
Craig Counsell led off the third with a triple and Tracy followed with the sacrifice fly. Luis Gonzalez singled, and Clark followed with his 30th homer— a towering shot that traveled an estimated 427 feet into the right-field seats.
The Diamondbacks, who tied a franchise record with four double plays Wednesday, turned three Thursday, including one to end the ninth with runners on first and second.
“As you saw the game unfold, we had many opportunities to put that team away before they got us,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. “It’s that simple.”
Clark has three other 30-homer seasons, including 34 with Detroit in 1998. This time, he got No. 30 in his 326th at-bat. … The paid attendance of 18,808 was the second-smallest ever at Bank One Ballpark, larger only than the 18,776 who watched Colorado-Arizona on April 11. The “BOB” will be renamed Friday by Chase Retail Banking, which bought Bank One. … Aybar has hit safely in 11 of his 12 major league starts. … Kent has 29 homers, 28 as a second baseman. That ties him with Davey Lopes (1979) for the most homers by a Dodgers 2B.