Taylor Clarke earns win, D-backs take series against Dodgers
PHOENIX — By looking at the box score, you’d think the D-backs were pounding the ball around the ballpark on Wednesday.
To an extent, that is what happened. The D-backs had eight runs on nine hits — four of those for extra bases — in the series finale against the Dodgers, but Los Angeles also had three errors and allowed three infield singles in a substandard defensive outing. Arizona won the series with its 8-2 victory over the Dodgers.
The D-backs’ day began with an infield bunt single by Jarrod Dyson, a ground ball on which Tim Locastro slid and avoided a tag at first and then an error on the first baseman that allowed David Peralta to reach as a run scored. Then, Eduardo Escobar homered to make it 4-0. By the bottom of the eighth inning, catcher Russell Martin was called upon to pitch. It was that sort of day for L.A.
Only five of the D-backs’ eight runs scored were earned runs for Dodgers pitchers on Wednesday.
The Dodgers went with starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin on Wednesday for his major league debut.
“We knew that there was a rookie pitcher that was throwing against us and the heart rate would probably be climbing, and we wanted to challenge him the best that we could,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s really good coaching and really good aptitude and trust by our players. They got some information and they took advantage of it.”
Taylor Clarke was good for the D-backs, earning the win after going five innings and allowing only two runs on three hits, three walks and three strikeouts. He allowed consecutive runners to reach base only once, and one of the two runs he allowed was on a solo home run to Cody Bellinger that went into the camera well in the center field batter’s eye. His final batter of the outing was a strikeout of Matt Beaty to strand two runners — his 93rd pitch of the afternoon.
“I think Taylor Clarke did a fantastic job and he’s be grinding through his past outings,” Lovullo said. “For him to stand up there and take the mound the way he did and attack hitters the way he did, he gave up a couple runs, we know that, but he won a baseball game.”
Clarke and the D-backs both needed that outing. He entered the game with a 6.48 ERA on the season in eight major league appearances, seven of them starts. He owned a 10.64 ERA in 11 innings over his last three starts.
“I was definitely confident coming into it, despite the last few outings,” Clarke said, adding that he felt like he had good fastball command and mixed in breaking balls Wednesday, and recently adjusted how he holds his four-seam fastball.
After Clarke, the D-backs used Andrew Chafin (0.2 innings), Stefan Crichton (2.1 innings) and Archie Bradley (pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning) in relief. Crichton allowed two hits and a walk with no runs and two strikeouts in a strong outing against L.A. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning during his appearance.
JARROD’S BIG DAY
Jarrod Dyson went 3-for-5 and had two singles, a double, two stolen bases, a run scored and robbed a home run in right center field while colliding with fellow outfielder Tim Locastro during his leap.
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“When you’re tracking the ball, you don’t worry about [getting hit],” Dyson said. “You either hit the wall or you hit him. You’re going to hit something, but I keep my eye on the ball.”
When told he sounded like a wide receiver in football, he said: “I used to be one. It works out for me out there. I love playing defense.”
Dyson also took the NL lead in stolen bases with his two on Wednesday. He now has 19 on the season.
“Don’t let him fool you at all,” Lovullo said. “He is a tremendous athlete, and he doesn’t out-athlete the game. He is a very smart baseball player. He may come across as aloof or just, ‘I want to just be a great athlete out there.’ He has learned a lot through the course of his career.”
MARTE DOES HIS PART-AY
With a pinch-hit single on Wednesday, Ketel Marte — whom you can still vote into the All-Star game — got his 100th hit of the season in the team’s 82nd game. It became just the seventh instance in team history a player had 100 hits through 82 games, joining Luis Gonzalez (twice), Matt Williams, Eric Byrnes, Paul Goldschmidt and Jean Segura.
The D-backs have nine more games before the All-Star break: four in San Francisco, two in Los Angeles and three in Colorado. You can hear those games on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.