Zac Gallen works out of jam, D-backs bats show up late in win over Rockies
PHOENIX — Since joining the Arizona Diamondbacks at the MLB trade deadline, pitcher Zac Gallen has shown he has the ability to be that steady arm deeper in the starting rotation.
But after hitting the ground running to start, Gallen ran into a bit of trouble Monday night.
Luckily for the righty, he received some offensive backing from his battery mate in Carson Kelly as the D-backs knocked off the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, in front of the 15,443 in attendance.
In six innings (103 pitches, 61 strikes) of work, Gallen allowed just one earned run on five hits, striking out eight. The stat line, for the most part, is impressive, but one statistic stood out the most in Monday’s win.
After rolling through the first three inning with a lone walk, the pitcher began missing his marks, giving up five over the next three. Most of those came in the fourth.
“I think the biggest thing is we got a win,” Gallen said. “We’re in the [postseason] hunt and those are the most important things looking forward.
“At the same time though I felt like it was good outing but I would have liked to be more efficient. Six walks isn’t going to sit well with me but we got a win. That’s really what matters.”
It seemed like a ho-hum inning for Gallen as he struck out the first two Rockies batters. But then the wheels began to wobble as the next three at-bats resulted in two walks and a single, loading up the bases.
Then up came Tony Wolters to the plate.
Recording a strike on his first offering to the catcher, Gallen proceeded to toss four straight balls, walking in the first run of the evening. Gallen limited the damage, however, recording his third strikeout of the frame to end the inning.
“The one thing that does stand out is giving the one run when his back’s up against the wall, he makes pitches and gets out of situations,” manager Torey Lovullo said of the pitcher. “There’s something to be said about that.”
And although Gallen started off the night strong, the D-backs bats were nonexistent early on, failing to record a hit in the first five innings.
That all changed in the sixth inning thanks to the duo of Carson Kelly and Ketel Marte.
Kelly provided the team’s first offensive spark of the night, getting aboard with a leadoff single. The score would flip two pitches into Marte’s at-bat as the All-Star handed Arizona its first lead of the night with a two-out, two-run shot to right-center field.
“We’re getting no-hit for five innings and there’s a little bit of frustration growing but Carson comes up and pieces together a really good at-bat, Ketel hits a big home run and puts us ahead,” Lovullo said.
“Those are some quality moments right there by some really, really good hitters.”
It’s a welcome sight for the team on both accounts.
Entering play Monday night, Kelly was 0-for-12 on the homestand, while Marte was out of the lineup the previous two contests with lower back tightness.
“It felt good,” Kelly said. “I just had a case of the ‘at-em’ balls, but it was good to contribute in this win and just glad I got the opportunity.”
But the Rockies weren’t about to go down quietly.
With Andrew Chafin in as relief, Colorado strung together two singles — with just one out in between — before Wolters made yet another impact on the game with an RBI single, tying things up at 2-2.
The stalemate wouldn’t last long.
After securing the first D-backs’ hit of the night, Kelly stepped up once again, helping seal the deal with a solo homer. Jarrod Dyson would add a single two batters later before David Peralta added two insurance runs with a triple.
Kelly’s 18th dinger of the season ties Miguel Montero’s total in 2011 for the most by a catcher in team history.
“When you get an offensive catcher as capable as Carson, it adds a whole new dimension and some thickness to your lineup,” Lovullo said. “They don’t come around very often, guys that can put the barrel on the ball and command the strike zone the way he does.
“He’s got to continue to blossom and grow behind the plate, which he is. He’s learning, he’s a great student, he trusts the people around him that are giving him the information. I think we’re looking at a really good baseball player here for many, many years.”
Archie Bradley was called upon to close things out in the ninth inning, giving up a solo homer, but earning the save when it was all said and done.
“It was a good team, and there was so many things that happened inside of the game today that keeps me thinking this team is ready to do something special and on the verge of making a run,” Lovullo said.
“We’ve got to button it up and take care of what we did today and enjoy it and make sure we come out tomorrow and continue to execute on that really good level and expect good things to happen.”
The D-backs have now won four straight home games against the Rockies and is 6-1 in their last seven games.
The D-backs will look to add to the win column Tuesday night as Alex Young (4-3) faces off against Colorado’s Kyle Freeland (3-10).
First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. and you can catch all the action live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.