Diamondbacks continue offensive surge, hold on late to beat Padres
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ offense surged again with the roof open at Chase Field and registered a club record with their ninth win in a row at home vs. an opposing team with a 7-6 victory that came down to the final out against the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
David Peralta was 3-5 with three singles, a run scored, and his first stolen base of the season. He is now hitting a ridiculous .463 in his last 11 games.
Christian Walker was 2-5 with a double, single, and two runs scored while Nick Ahmed was 2-4 with three RBI and the biggest hit of the night.
“As players, we were never really worried about it. There was individuals, myself included, who struggled to start the year,” said Ahmed on the sudden explosion of offense. “Just being not worried about it doesn’t mean we weren’t working. Guys were working and are still working and trying to get better and improve, but we didn’t really think about it too much.”
The scoring started with catcher Carson Kelly, who got the first RBI of the game with a single in the fourth inning that scored Walker and tied the game at one. He went 3-4 at the dish with three singles and two RBI.
Arizona was then able to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth for Nick Ahmed, who stepped up and delivered with a 2-RBI double to score Walker and Eduardo Escobar and give the D-backs the lead.
Kole Calhoun brought Kelly home with a sac RBI and Ahmed scored on a Ketel Marte RBI bunt single that pushed the lead to four in the big inning.
The D-backs added a pair of RBI singles from both Kelly and Ahmed in the seventh inning that increased their run total to seven. The offense rolled in to this one averaging 7.1 runs per game with a .301 batting average and 14 home runs in their last nine.
In their last three games, only two of the 25 runs scored were from home runs.
“It’s just those little things that these guys keep doing every single night along the way that are helping us win baseball games, and we talk about those little things,” said manager Torey Lovullo after the game.
“We’re executing at a higher level than we were, but it’s still not where we need be. But winning the game gets you there, and we’re going to continue plowing and continue going in the right direction.”
In replacement of Madison Bumgarner, D-backs pitcher Alex Young gave the team exactly what they needed out of him to guide them to a victory.
He worked quickly early on and mowed down the first two batters he faced in the game, Tommy Pham and Manny Machado, with strikeouts.
But he was brought back down to Earth by the third batter in the inning, Fernando Tatis Jr, who sent his ninth home run of the year to the teddy bears in left field.
After the home run, Young settled in and slowed down in his approach. He was able to pitch efficiently to contact and keep his pitch count low as he was limited in this start due to his relief role this season.
“The one thing I was doing well was establishing my fast ball on both sides of the plate,” Young said.
“I think I’m going to go out there and compete regardless of how many innings I have or even if this is for one start or whatever. I’m going to go out there and prove myself, and basically show that I belong here.”
In the opener role, Young went 4.1 innings with four hits and one earned run. He allowed one walk and struck out five in a performance that will inevitably get his name into the starting rotation discussion.
“It was kicked off by AY who gave us exactly what we thought he could,” Lovullo said.
“It was fantastic stuff, keeping hitters off balance. He gave up the solo home run and then just went and locked everything down and handed it over to the bullpen.”
The bullpen made things interesting by allowing two runs in the eighth which saw Archie Bradley come on in a non-save situation in the eighth. Bradley then gave up three runs in the ninth to make it a one-run game.
It all came down to an exciting play at the plate where Ketel Marte made a perfect relay throw to Kelly at home plate off a Jurickson Profar single that looked like it was going to score pinch runner Jorge Mateo to get the out and end the game.
The D-backs will go for the sweep on Sunday with Robbie Ray on the mound against Garrett Richards for the Padres in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Ray has struggled in his three starts this season, especially with control. His 14 walks allowed this season is second most in MLB behind Kyle Wright from Atlanta. He has a 1-2 record with a 10.59 ERA. But on the bright side, he is three strikeouts away from 1,000 in his career, and he is 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA in 17 career starts against the Padres.