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Gallen, Marte keep Diamondbacks streaking against Padres

(AP photos)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks hovered within two games of .500 for 60 consecutive outings. It was uncanny. It set a Major League record. And now they can’t stop winning.

Zac Gallen carried a no-hitter into the seventh and Ketel Marte broke a scoreless tie with his second-career grand slam as Arizona knocked off the Padres 4-1 in front of 18,096 fans at Chase Field on Wednesday. Suddenly, the D-backs are 9-1 in their last 10, and 12-4 in their last 16.

Gallen has been showing flashes since Arizona traded for him at the deadline, and he put it all together in this one. In his first five starts with the Diamondbacks, the team went 4-1 while he posted an ERA of 2.88. His only real issue had been allowing too many baserunners.

That wasn’t a problem on Wednesday, though.

“I was probably the most nervous guy in the stadium because I was trying to figure out how I was going to take him out of the game if he had a certain pitch count,” Torey Lovullo acknowledged after the game, noting that he wouldn’t have let Gallen go over 120 pitches. He ultimately left after 103.

The former Marlin allowed just five of the 23 batters he faced to reach base. And two of those were because of defensive miscues, when Wilmer Flores dropped a pop up in the fourth, and a third strike got past Carson Kelly in the sixth.

The fielders definitely picked Gallen up a few times too. Josh Rojas made a beautiful throw from left to get Greg Garcia at home and complete an inning-ending double play in the first, and Kelly caught Manny Machado stealing to end the fourth.

Eduardo Escobar kept the trend going in the fifth, fielding a ball off the bat of Ty France to start another inning-ending double play and preserve the no-hitter.

Machado ultimately broke up Gallen’s run at history by lining a single to right with one out in the seventh, but San Diego couldn’t do much else. And Marte promptly launched his home run over the right field wall a half-inning later to blow the game open.

Lovullo was impressed by his pitcher’s ability to zero back in after the Machado hit and get through the rest of the inning. As Gallen pointed out, he really had no choice.

“I knew it was still a 0-0 ballgame,” he said. “So I didn’t try and let that get to me too much. Still had pitches to make. Didn’t really feel like it kind of took me out of the game, I just wanted to lock in even more. That was the goal and it worked out.”

With the win, the D-backs are now just three games back of a wild card spot. And while that means there’s still work to do, they’ve jumped a few teams in the last week and are arguably the hottest team in baseball with just 22 games to go.

“We’re close,” Marte pointed out. “We play good baseball now. I keep saying we’ve got a good team here. Every teammate, we are together. We just got out there and have fun, give 100 percent and try to win every day.”

They’ll head to Cincinnati for a three-game series with the Reds next, then hit New York for four against the Mets. Robbie Ray gets the start Friday, looking for his eighth win in his last nine decisions.

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