Zac Gallen strikes out career high in D-backs doubleheader win
Leaders of Major League Baseball and the players union made a decision back in July that ended up helping Zac Gallen ensure a win in his quality start against the Colorado Rockies on Friday.
In the seven-inning game, the first of Arizona’s doubleheader, Gallen simply limited any other pitcher’s involvement.
Gallen pitched six innings in the shortened game as the D-backs beat Colorado 4-0.
“He was in total control of his outing,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I could’ve sent him back out there for the seventh, I just felt like it was the right move, with all things considered, with the type of year he’s had.”
With this start, Gallen’s final of the season, the second-year pitcher finishes the season with a 3-2 record despite allowing two runs or fewer in nine of his 12 outings.
He finishes his season with a 2.75 ERA in 72 innings.
Gallen was stellar on Friday, striking out 10 Rockies, a new career high. Six of his strikeouts were against the heart of the Rockies order, including three against shortstop Trevor Story.
His strikeout lived in the 93-95 mph range, and he got strikeouts with the four-seam, knuckle curve, changeup and cutter.
Baserunners were short-lived. In the fourth inning, Gallen walked a batter then immediately coaxed a double play before striking out designated hitter Matt Kemp to end the inning.
The only time he got into trouble was the sixth, when two runners got on with one out. Gallen got third baseman Ryan McMahon to hit a sharp grounder in the direction of first baseman Christian Walker, who made a nice play on the ball and set up a double play.
Walker’s play on defense wasn’t his only contribution to the game.
In the third inning, Walker pulverized a ball down the left field line. The anticipation of where it would land wasn’t a question of whether it had the distance – just whether it would stay fair.
It did, barely, sneaking its way inside the yellow pole and landing in the second deck overlooking the D-backs bullpen.
Walker had the longest hit of the game with the home run. He also had the shortest, a check swing in the fifth that connected with a ball that dribbled toward the third baseman and never left the grass.
An overthrow to first by McMahon allowed the runner on first, Ketel Marte, to advance to third. Walker then got his first steal of the season. Eduardo Escober, who had a third-inning RBI triple, walked to load the bases.
David Peralta drove in a run with a base hit, but that was the only run Arizona could muster that inning.
It was enough. The odd seven-inning game, complete with a fifth-inning stretch, finished with Yoan Lopez getting the first two outs in the ninth and then allowing a pair of runners. Arizona brought in Stefan Crichton to get the final out and earn his fifth save of the season.
“It’s shorter and there’s a little more emphasis, kind of like this season,” Pavin Smith said about the shortened games. “Every pitch counts a little more.”