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Tommy Pham gives up chance for first 5-for-5 World Series game, gives at-bat to Jace Peterson

PHOENIX (AP) — Jace Peterson was standing in Arizona’s dugout just before the middle of the eighth inning when Tommy Pham walked up and told his teammate to hit for him when his spot came up.

Pham said he didn’t know he could have become the first player to go 5 for 5 in a World Series game and added he didn’t care.

“Me and Jace are cool, man. I had to get my dog in,” Pham said Sunday before the Diamondbacks worked out at Chase Field with the Series against the Texas Rangers tied 1-1.

Pham went 4 for 4 with a pair of doubles in the Diamondbacks’ 9-1 win Saturday night. He is 5 for 9 with a home run in the Series.

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Pham approached manager Torey Lovullo with the idea in the eighth inning after Arizona scored three runs to open a 7-1 lead.

“Are you sure? One hundred percent sure?” the manager recalled responding. “And I gave him some contingencies. I said, if it’s 7-1, that’s the only score I’ll allow it to happen. (If it’s) 7-2, lefty-righty, I’m going to reconsider it and I’ll circle back to you.”

Peterson was added to the roster on Friday after being dropped for the NL Championship Series.

“I got you. Ready. Appreciate it. Let’s go!,” Peterson remembered telling Pham.

Peterson grounded to second on a full-count pitch from Martín Pérez, a play turned into a forceout. Peterson scored on Emmanuel Rivera’s single.

Paul Molitor of Milwaukee in 1982 and Albert Pujols of St. Louis in 2011 are the only players with Series five-hit games, and both went 5 for 6.

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“I’m not on Twitter. I’m not on social media. But my family will send me things. And I guess I was the idiot in the room that took Tommy Pham out of the game,” Lovullo said. “This was to me a true team moment. Tommy Pham knew — I’m sure he knew, because he’s extremely smart and pays attention to in some things that you wouldn’t expect a Major League Baseball player to pay attention to — I am guaranteeing you he was aware that he had a chance to get five hits.”

Pham and Peterson share adjacent lockers and feel a kinship. Both are in the Series for the first time, Peterson at age 33 and Pham at 35. Peterson was acquired from Oakland on July 31 and Pham from the New York Mets the following day.

“This was a moment where it was a teammate loving a teammate to give him an opportunity,” Lovullo said. “He took what mattered most to him personally — No. 1 on the list — and said, it’s more about the team and my teammate at this moment.”

Teammates say they love to have him in their clubhouse, but Pham’s public reputation has been shaped by several incidents.

He was suspended for three games in May 2022 while with Cincinnati for slapping San Francisco’s Joc Pederson because of a fantasy football league dispute. Pham was stabbed in the lower back during an altercation in the parking lot of a strip club in October 2020 and recovered in time for the 2021 season. And this past Aug. 19 Pham got into a verbal confrontation with a fan while in the on-deck circle in San Diego, saying later that the fan referred to him with a profanity.

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“I’m not really concerned about that,” Pham said of perception. “My agency has been able to find me a job. I haven’t really felt like I lost the opportunity because, oh, you know, this guy has a bad reputation. Well, maybe it might be true. I read something in the middle of the trade deadline that the Giants said something about me.”

Pham played for St. Louis (2014-18), Tampa Bay (2018-19), San Diego (2020-21), Cincinnati (2022), and Boston (2022) before the Mets and Diamondbacks.

He was 1 for 13 in the NLCS and dealing with turf toe when Lovullo rested him for Game 5 against Philadelphia. Pham detailed his meeting with the manager.

“I didn’t feel like it was pretty, but it was healthy,” Pham said. “The best way to get over anything is to hash it out or talk it through man to man, and he was able to understand my perspective on it, and I was able to understand his perspective a little bit better. At the end of the day, in the playoffs, you want every at-bat, you want to play every inning, catch the last out.”

“I could give you a small detail,” Pham added. “He didn’t think I could get the job done. So it’s up to me as a player to instill confidence in my manager, my coaches, so that when a situation presents itself again, they’re confident in me to do the job. So I have to do a better job as a player instilling that confidence in everyone in the room from my teammates to my coaches.”

Pham didn’t think the day off helped.

“Hell, no, it wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.