Offensive explosion, strong pitching snaps Diamondbacks’ losing skid
PHOENIX — The losing streak is finally over. The Arizona Diamondbacks will not repeat history and tie their franchise record of 14 consecutive losses set back in 2004.
It was an offensive explosion coupled with good pitching to give the D-backs a 9-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field on Sunday afternoon despite left fielder David Peralta getting the day off.
“It’s good to be on the right side of a ballgame and call ourselves a winner,” manager Torey Lovullo said via Zoom postgame. “We’ve been grinding, it’s well known. Today we did a lot of things right. We didn’t play a perfect game.
“We’re always striving to play a perfect game and we overcame some of the mistakes that we did make with more winning moments. That’s why we won today’s game.”
The Cardinals didn’t do themselves any favors, having committed three errors while catcher Yadier Molina and third baseman Nolan Arenado watched from the first base dugout.
Arizona was led offensively by center fielder Ketel Marte, who was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
A total of six D-backs hitters drove in a run on the day. That was largely due to the five-run sixth inning in which Marte was intentionally walked with runners on second and third. With the bases loaded, the next five batters got on base and drove in a run each with a walk, three singles and a fielder’s choice.
As a team, Arizona combined for 13 hits.
Diamondbacks rookie right-handed pitcher Matt Peacock made just the third start of his career and gave Arizona six solid innings en route to picking up a quality start.
Peacock allowed two runs on six hits, one home run, no walks and six strikeouts on 78 pitches (57 strikes).
“It started with Matt Peacock, who was extremely effective and on the attack,” Lovullo said. “I could just feel his fastball presence and his strike-throwing ability.
“Getting down by a couple runs, the offense kind of kicked into gear. … Playing from the right side of things and from there just capitalizing. We continued to build innings and get runners on base.”
The opening half-inning of the game was a microcosm of modern-day baseball, as Peacock managed to strike out the side while also giving up a solo shot to Cardinals center fielder Dylan Carlson.
St. Louis got its second run of the ballgame via Andrew Knizner’s double that would end up being the Cardinals’ last run on the day.
The Diamondbacks managed to tie the game with back-to-back one-run innings. In the bottom of the second, a two-out triple by Nick Ahmed was followed by an RBI single from Tim Locastro to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1.
Then with one out in the third inning, Ketel Marte tied up the contest at 2-2 with a solo shot to left center field.
We missed @ketel_marte4's bombs! pic.twitter.com/aiGaMrIusD
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) May 30, 2021
The Marte show continued in his next at-bat in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded. With two outs and the count full, the center fielder ripped a two-RBI single to left field to give the D-backs a 4-2 lead.
The Diamondbacks really broke the game open thanks to the aforementioned five-run bottom of the sixth.
Right-handed pitcher Riley Smith came on for the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning and recorded the final nine outs without allowing a run to pick up the save. He finished the day with four strikeouts and one walk while allowing four hits.
“I’ve told the group it’s like chopping a tree,” Lovullo said of the team’s mentality going forward. “You can’t run up to that tree and bend it and break it and knock it over in one day. But we have to take our ax and we have to keep pounding away at it and that tree will eventually fall. That’s the mentality that we have.
“Each person that picks up that ax, grabs it and puts it in the most precise spot and does their damage to that tree every time they have the opportunity. That I feel like should resonate with these guys, so that’s definitely something I got up in front of them and said.”
Peacock and Smith combined to strike out 10 Cardinals hitters, which accounted for 37% of the 27 outs.
The D-backs start a three-game series with the New York Mets at Chase Field on Monday, with a pitching matchup of Merrill Kelly vs. Jacob deGrom.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.