Sedona Red Recap: Taijuan Walker strikes out career-high 11 as D-backs beat Padres
PHOENIX — July. After the All-Star break.
That’s when the Arizona Diamondbacks won their fourth home series in 2016.
One year later, they’ve matched that mark. Here in April.
The D-backs used the long ball to get the job done.
Chris Owings homered twice, his first multi-homer game of his career. Yasmany Tomas also went deep and drove in three runs. All in support of Taijuan Walker who pitched eight solid innings for his third victory of the season, beating the San Diego Padres, 6-2, in front of 15,452 at Chase Field on Thursday.
The D-backs won the series, three-games to one, and at 15-9, they’ve moved back into first place in the National League West.
It was another comeback victory, as the D-backs rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with a run in the third, three in the fourth and another in the sixth off Padres starter Jered Weaver (0-2). They added an insurance run in the eighth.
Of the D-backs 15 wins, the second-most in all of baseball, 10 have been come-from-behind victories.
Walker (3-1) was outstanding, highlighted by a fastball that consistently registered in the mid-90s.
His eight-inning effort was a season-high as were his 11 strikeouts, which tied a career-high. He allowed two runs on four hits and did not issue a walk.
During one stretch, Walker retired 17-of-19 batters before Ryan Schimpf homered in the seventh inning.
The D-backs’ 11-3 home record is tied for the best home start in franchise history.
Pop quiz: Who leads the D-backs in RBI? The answer is Owings, tied with Jake Lamb, with 19. Owings homered in each of his first two at-bats, lining a first-pitch slider over the fence in left field to tie the game at 1 in the third inning and smashing a 2-1 changeup over the bullpen in left field to increase the D-backs lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning. The 19 RBI are a career monthly high for Owings.
For the third time this homestand and 10th time in his last 30 games at Chase Field, Tomas homered. It came with a runner on and one out in the fourth inning. Tomas, as he does often, sent the 84-mph fastball the opposite way into the seats in right field to give the D-backs a 3-1 lead. He finished 2-for-4 and is now batting .353 (12-for-34) with four home runs and 13 RBI in his last nine games.
Heads up defensive play by Paul Goldschmidt in the fifth inning. With a runner on first and one out, Weaver lined a bunt attempt up the line. Goldschmidt let the ball fall to the ground and threw to first to retire Weaver. Meanwhile, Allen Cordoba, who reached on a hit-by-pitch, was caught in no man’s land between first and second base. He was tagged out in your atypical 3-4-6 inning-ending double play.
Sixteen pitches into the game, the D-backs trailed 1-0. And it happened with two outs. And the run was driven in by Yangervis Solarte, who entered 8-for-14 with three RBI in the series. Solarte ripped a 1-1 splitter into right field scoring Wil Myers from second base. Myers kept the first inning going with a double to left field.
A run of seven consecutive batters retired by Walker ended with two outs in the seventh inning. It ended with Schimpf, Wednesday night’s hero, hitting a home run. He ripped a 2-2 curveball deep into the seats in right field for the Padres second run of the game. Of Schimpf’s eight hits this season five have been home runs.
STAT OF THE GAME, part I
11: The D-backs embarrassed Padres catchers for 11 stolen bases on 13 total attempts in the four-game series.
STAT OF THE GAME, part II
23: The D-backs roughed up Padres starting pitchers for 23 earned runs in 21 total innings in the four-game series.
STATE OF THE GAME, part III
51: The D-backs made Padres hitters look silly setting a club record with 51 strikeouts in the four-game series.
HE SAID IT
“He gave us everything you could ask for,” manager Torey Lovullo said, referring to Walker. “It was a much-needed moment, a much-needed push for us where he set the tone on a night where it was a possibility of a hangover from yesterday’s game, but we did exactly what I’d hope we do. We digested yesterday’s game, came out and scored to take the lead, kept the lead and played our brand of baseball.”
– D-backs won the first four home series of the year for third time in team history. They won the first five in 1999 and 2008.
– D-backs pitchers (starters and relievers) recorded 11+ strikeouts in four consecutive games for first time in team history
– Walker threw a first-pitch strike to 17-of-28 batters faced; only once did he throw more than 16 pitches in any one inning.
– Owings went 2-for-3, and he is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with one triple, three home runs and 12 RBI over his last six games.
– Goldschmidt went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to eight consecutive games, in which he is batting .500 (13-for-26).
– A.J. Pollock has reached base safely in 13 consecutive games against the Padres, in which he is batting .388 (19-for-49).
– With a first-pitch temperature of 88 degrees at 6:40, the game was played with the roof open, but the panels were closed.
– As part of Throwback Thursday, the D-backs played in the alternate home vest uniform, which were worn from 1998-2006.
– Roland Hemond, special assistant to Derrick Hall, was recognized by the team and SABR in a special pregame ceremony.
It’s a matchup of the top two teams in the division as the Colorado Rockies (14-9) visit to close out the 10-game homestand.
Left-handers Robbie Ray and Kyle Freeland will battle in the series opener on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Ray (2-0) is coming off a win over the Dodgers in which he allowed five runs in 5.1 innings with six strikeouts. Prior to this outing, however, he had not surrendered more than three runs in his first three appearances.
Ray is 2-1 with a 5.30 ERA with 39 strikeouts in seven career starts against the Rockies.
Meanwhile, Freeland (2-1) has impressed in his rookie season, especially recently. In his last start, he pitched seven shutout innings in an 8-0 victory over the Giants.
Three times in four outings, Freeland has allowed one or fewer runs.
The D-backs have won five straight and nine of the last 13 in the series.