Alex Avila broke out of his slump in a big way.
Avila homered among his three hits and drove in two runs, Robbie Ray struck out 11 while pitching into the fifth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-4 on Tuesday night.
Avila started his big night by leading off the third with a towering homer to deep right-center off Vince Velasquez (1-3) that caromed off the base of the second deck. Avila began the at-bat in a 4-for-35 slump with 18 strikeouts.
“He’s the guy you saw today,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Nothing fazes him. There’s an ease to his game. In his mind, he feels like he’s going to hit.”
Dyson followed with a long drive to right to put Arizona ahead 2-0. He was batting .160 before going deep for the first time this season.
The Phillies went ahead in the bottom of the inning. After Aaron Altherr’s one-out, bases-loaded double to right scored two to tie the score, Maikel Franco’s sacrifice fly to left gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead.
The advantage was short-lived though as David Peralta hit a two-run double down the right-field line in the fifth after Velasquez loaded the bases with no outs by sandwiching a pair of walks around a single by Avila.
Arizona then went ahead 5-3 in the sixth on Avila’s one-out RBI single to right.
“TD Garden is going to be great. As a basketball player or fan, one of the places you want to enjoy and be, it’s TD Garden for a Game 7,” said Horford, whose first postseason trip, with the Atlanta Hawks, ended with a Game 7 loss to Boston’s most recent Big Three during the team’s 2008 title run.
Added Horford: “I’ve been on both sides. It’s tough about [Thursday’s loss], but I’m definitely looking forward to Saturday.”
Celtics players lamented their offensive inconsistency during Thursday’s 97-86 loss at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks turned bad Boston offense into easy transition baskets while building a double-digit first-half lead, then fended of some second-half surges.
Now the Celtics need a win Saturday to extend their season.
“The result is our guys get to experience a Game 7, which, again, we didn’t want,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Game 7 in TD Garden is what you play for. It should be what you’re excited most about. What you worked for all summer, what you worked for all year. It’s a blast.”
The Bucks expect a frenzied atmosphere in Boston.