PHOENIX – David Peralta has been in this situation many times.
The roar of the crowd was heard as the Venezuelan batter stood in the batter’s box and the game hung in the balance at Chase Field. And once again, Peralta responded by celebrating his trademark “Freight Train” celebrating the moment… only this time he did it in a Dodgers uniform.
With loaded bases and two outs on top of the eighth inning against his former team, Peralta saw Kyle Nelson’s convenient pitch, fast ball out. Peralta dragged the pitch into right field, allowing Freddie Freeman and Will Smith to score give the Dodgers a 2-0 win Wednesday night, two matches against the defenders and another special moment at the stadium that was Peralta’s home from 2014 to 2022.
“Every time I go out on the pitch, it’s special,” Peralta confessed. “I’m happy to be here; it’s a blessing to be here. The team wins. You just have to play game by game. So tomorrow I’ll say it again. Today we celebrate, tomorrow will be another day. We’ll do the same.”
Peralta spent more than eight years in the desert, amidst a hard-fought streak of six losing seasons and only one postseason trip. “Freight Train” won the Silver Slugger, the Golden Glove and the hearts of many D-backs fans for the energy he brought to the Arizona court every day. It’s the same energy that D-backs manager Torey Lovullo praised when he spoke to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about it during spring training, letting Roberts know the team would love her.
“That’s exactly what happened,” said Roberts. “Freddie is a physical leader; everyone follows his example. But if we’re talking about a player who provides energy, it’s David. The boy is preparing very well. He likes to be in these emergencies; challenges are never too big for him. I was talking about reliable players and David is a reliable player.
The win gave the Dodgers a 6.0-game lead over the NL West, and Peralta was a key player in that club’s success. In his 35-year season, the Venezuelan still responds to zero hour as he did in Arizona. The left-handed slugger has a batting line of .277/.308/.411 with 44 RBI. He also showed his character in defense, as evidenced on Tuesday when he robbed D-back of two homer runs that could have turned the game around.
“In baseball, you tend to grow up against your former teams,” Freeman said. “And I’m glad it happened here.”
“The situation fit together perfectly.”