PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks had to win Thursday. Somehow, they did.

After getting boat-raced into oblivion by an unforgiving Phillies lineup in Game 2, Arizona bounced back to steal Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. A bizarre, oddly-paced nail-biter in the desert, full of quality pitching, ended with a Ketel Marte walk-off single.

With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Arizona’s leadoff hitter roped an elevated Craig Kimbrel heater into center, sending his teammates pouring out of the home dugout in celebration of a 2-1 win at Chase Field.

Make no mistake, the Diamondbacks are still up against it. The Phillies, even with a horrid offensive showing, keep the upper hand. This showdown still might not make it back to Philly. But on Thursday afternoon, Arizona made this a series.

With all the big pieces off the chessboard, both clubs turned to their No. 3 starters for Game 3. For Philly, that meant October killer Ranger Suárez, as reliable a mid-rotation option as there is left in the playoffs. For Arizona, that meant a third start in quick succession for rookie Brandon Pfaadt.

For the first half of this ballgame, both starters rose to the moment, canceling out one another’s dominance. 

Suárez, a known October commodity with nerves of steel, carved yet again, running his career playoff line to just three earned runs in 28 2/3 innings. But Pfaadt matched him at every turn, and the two exited the contest in the sixth with the game knotted at zero.

D-backs’ Ketel Marte hits walk-off single vs. Phillies to win Game 3

Jake Mintz, the louder half of @CespedesBBQ is a baseball writer for FOX Sports. He played college baseball, poorly at first, then very well, very briefly. Jake lives in New York City where he coaches Little League and rides his bike, sometimes at the same time. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Mintz.

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