Sedona Red Recap: Bats prop up Taijuan Walker’s debut as D-backs rally past Giants
PHOENIX — Taijuan Walker’s first start as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks was an eventful one.
Making his debut as a National League pitcher, the big righty fell behind 3-0 in the third and then 4-1 in the fifth. He hung around, gave his new club a chance to win and they responded.
A.J. Pollock, Chris Owings and Yasmany Tomas all delivered multi-hit efforts as the D-backs got past the Giants 8-6 at Chase Field on Wednesday night. Jeremy Hazelbaker came through with a big pinch-hit double in the sixth, highlighting a seven-run outburst by Arizona over the course of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
In all, eight different Diamondbacks picked up hits in the contest. And the 18 runs the team has scored so far are less than only San Francisco and Cleveland around the league.
Walker’s stat line was far from elite, but he was able to pitch out of jams and, as manager Torey Lovullo pointed out afterward, give them a chance to win.
“When his back was against the wall,” Lovullo explained, “he came out, made pitches, kept us in the game and allowed us to start to maneuver in the seventh in the bullpen, which was a great effort on his part.”
Walker gave the D-backs six innings — a big deal after the bullpen had to eat up five innings on Tuesday. And he struck out seven.With the win, Arizona is now 2-1. If the Diamondbacks can pull off a victory against the Giants again on Thursday, they’ll open the year with a series win at home. That’s something they didn’t accomplish until July last season.
With the win, Arizona is now 2-1. If the Diamondbacks can pull off a victory against the Giants again on Thursday, they’ll open the year with a series win at home. That’s something they didn’t accomplish until July last season.
Brandon Drury made a nice play on a grounder up the middle by Gorkys Hernandez in the top of the fifth, scooping it up and then firing to first in time for the out. It may have saved an additional run from scoring too, as Brandon Belt homered next.
Owings and Paul Goldschmidt pulled off the double steal with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. They both scored when Jake Lamb snuck one down the first base line past Belt to pull Arizona to within one at 4-3.
After falling behind 4-1, the Diamondbacks scored seven unanswered to take control of the game.
Drury extended his hitting streak to eight games, dating back to last season.
Eight different Arizona batters scored runs.
Arizona closer Fernando Rodney worked a 1-2-3 ninth, using 14 pitches to earn his first save of the season.
Pollock misplayed a line drive to center by Belt in the third. The ball was dropping in for a single either way, but Pollock ran a little too far to his left, had to reach back and ultimately saw it skip all the way to the wall for a triple. Naturally, Hunter Pence singled Belt home on the very next pitch.
The Arizona bullpen had issues in the eighth. Andrew Chafin walked Aaron Hill with the bases loaded to get San Francisco within three, then Tom Wilhelmsen threw a wild pitch that allowed Brandon Crawford to score.
STAT OF THE GAME
100: number of career stolen bases for Goldschmidt.
HE SAID IT
“They just keep pushing and plowing, this team, and I’ve only been here for three major league games — I’ve seen them for a number of spring training games, but this group is now together for three games — and what I’ve seen out of them is the relentlessness that we’re asking for. And it’s pretty impressive.” — D-backs Manager Torey Lovullo
— The Diamondbacks were on the right end of a video review in the bottom of the second inning when Drury was deemed safe after originally being called out at first base.
These two teams will meet for the fourth and final game of the series Thursday at Chase Field. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Robbie Ray (0-0) will get the start for the D-backs. He went 8-15 with a 4.90 ERA in 2016, then followed that up with a 5.11 ERA over 24.2 innings this spring. He’s 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in four career starts against the Giants.
Ray fanned 218 batters last year, becoming just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to crack the 200-strikeout mark.
San Francisco will counter with Jeff Samardzija (0-0). The 32-year-old righty finished the 2016 campaign with a 12-11 record, to go with a 3.81 ERA. He’s 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 12 career appearances against Arizona.