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Luke Weaver shines, D-backs offense remains quiet in 5th straight loss

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 23: Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park on August 23, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver had the best outing of his 2020 season in Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Giants.

It also marked the right-hander’s return to San Francisco for the first time since suffering a forearm strain in May of last season.

Weaver allowed two earned runs on five hits, five strikeouts and one walk over 5.2 innings of work (84 pitches/58 strikes). The 5.2 innings pitched is the first outing this season in which he went over five frames in a single start.

“I felt like I started off well mixing pitches in there, getting inside, pitching threw a big jam — just executing, getting soft contact,” Weaver said of his performance after the game.

“I think it was not trying to put the game on my back, just kind of go with what’s given, try to get ahead mainly. I think when the ball is on the ground and the defense is working then good things are coming.”

Weaver wasted no time getting settled on the bump on Sunday afternoon. The right-hander came out firing as he struck out the side in the bottom of the first, the first two of which were caught looking.

And despite allowing a hit in the second, Weaver then retired the next eight batters in a row en route to facing the minimum amount through four innings. The right-hander was also able to keep his pitch count down thanks to a pair of back-to-back nine-pitch innings in the second and third frames.

San Francisco opened the fifth with back-to-back doubles off the right field wall from Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. However, after a fielder’s choice resulted in tagging out Longoria in between third and home, Weaver was able to escape the inning with only one run allowed.

The D-backs would manage to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the sixth thanks to a David Peralta RBI sac-fly that brought home Kole Calhoun, who reached on a walk and got to third on a Starling Marte double.

But the Giants responded immediately in the ensuing bottom half of the frame, as Mike Yastrzemski hit a solo home run to give San Francisco a 2-1 lead.

“Obviously that home run was a bummer. I made a good pitch, but he put a really good swing on it and I’m not sure why the ball went out of the yard but it did,” Weaver said. “Obviously that was a damper. But as a whole, I think it’s definitely a complete outing to feel good about.”

The Giants would go on to extend their lead in the bottom of the seventh inning via an Alex Dickerson three-run home run off Hector Rendon. San Francisco then tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth via a Pablo Sandoval RBI single.

The Diamondbacks’ offense continued to struggle on Sunday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Arizona only managed to muster five hits and one run, the fifth straight game in which the D-backs have scored two or fewer runs.

“This was a difficult road trip for us. Offensively, we just went into a different place than I was expecting,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “I expect a lot out of this team.

“They’ve spoiled us with really good approaches and a lot of well-hit balls and big innings with crooked numbers — and we never got there. I still feel this team can swing the bats with anybody. We have to figure this out. It’s on us. We have to put something together that’s going to be sustainable where we go out every single night and expect to get the job done offensively.”

That was mostly due to former Diamondback Trevor Cahill, who only allowed one run on one hit, two walks and eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings pitched (88 pitches/55 strikes).

“I think he threw a lot of strikes, mixing pitches well. That’s a veteran guy on the mound and knows what he’s doing,” Calhoun said of his former teammate Cahill. “The ball was kind of moving all over the place and I definitely think he threw it well.

“I played behind him last year and have faced him over the years — that was one of the better outings that I’ve seen him have and it seemed like he had everything going. … Just one of those days that you couldn’t really get anything going off of him.”

The Giants’ bullpen would follow that performance with a combined 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball while allowing just four hits, two of which came in the top of the ninth.

“That’s baseball in a nutshell. It can defeat you pretty hard at times but you can also ride a wave for a while,” Weaver said. “I don’t think anybody is playing bad baseball.

“Obviously there are some breaks that we need to take advantage of and some opportunities that we wanted to go our way. … We just have to keep the confidence, get into this homestand here and do what we did last time and flip the script again.”

EXTRA BASES

  • Coming into Sunday afternoon’s contest, Weaver was 1-3 on the 2020 campaign with a 9.16 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and 23 punchouts in five starts (18.2 innings pitched).
  • However, Sunday marked the second of back-to-back impressive outings from the right-hander, as Weaver only allowed one run on three hits, one walk and six strikeouts in the D-backs’ 10-1 win over the Oakland Athletics his last time out.

UP NEXT

The Diamondbacks return to Arizona to begin a seven-game homestand against the Colorado Rockies and Giants.

First pitch on Monday against the Rockies is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. and you can catch all the action live on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.


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