Bumgarner’s start, Smith’s late homer lead D-backs to sweep over Pirates
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks did something they haven’t done in three months on Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field.
With a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the D-backs completed a three-game series sweep for the first time since late April. The victory is also Arizona’s fourth in a row.
The win was led by a solid out from starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who was making his second start since coming off the injured list last Friday.
The left-hander lasted for five innings and only allowed one earned run on seven hits while striking out one and walking none on 79 pitches (56 strikes) en route to a no-decision.
“Bum gave us five quality innings. It was one earned run,” D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo said postgame. “He was filling up the strike zone. We had an opportunity to send him back out, but we had a pitch limit of 90.
“I told him if he’s going to hit, I was going to maneuver but wanted to send him back out there and he was ready. He was ready to do either. But it was nice to see him get back out there and have another good outing.”
Despite both teams combining for 23 hits on the day — of which Arizona led with 12 — a combination of untimely hitting and great defense prevented runs from crossing the plate.
In the top of the second, D-backs left fielder David Peralta looked to have possibly robbed a home run from Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings. It’s unclear whether or not the ball would have left the ballpark, but it certainly would have hit the yellow atop the outfield wall.
Then in the top of the third, Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar saved a run with a great diving stop and throw with two outs and a runner on third to keep the score tied at 1-1.
Both teams also squandered opportunities to break the game open with the bases loaded and less than two outs.
The two ballclubs combined to leave 16 runners on base and went 5-for-24 with runners in scoring position. Arizona left nine runners on while going 3-for-14 with RISP.
The Diamondbacks did so in the fourth inning, only managing to muster two runs without ever hitting the ball out of the infield once the bases were full to take a 4-3 lead.
The Pirates had their turn in the seventh inning and scored a run via a bases-loaded walk on the first batter D-backs RHP Brett De Geus faced after Joe Mantiply allowed three straight singles.
But De Geus was able to keep the damage to only one run, as he got Stallings to ground into a 6-3 double-play that was executed by Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed to keep the game tied at 4-4.
After the D-backs bullpen squandered Bumgarner’s shot at getting the win, Pavin Smith and Daulton Varsho put De Geus in position for the victory with back-to-back solo homers in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“Me and (Daulton) have hit back-to-back for three or four years in the minor leagues and we never got to hit back-to-back home runs,” Smith said postgame while donning a USA soccer jersey. “We never did it. And finally today we got to do it, so it was really cool. …
“We talked about it in the minor leagues just like we wanted to do it so bad. So when the guy in front of you hits one, it’s like this is it, this is your time to do it. It never happened and today it finally happened, so it was really cool.”
Joakim Soria came on in the ninth to close the door and collect his sixth save on the season.
— D-backs second baseman Josh Rojas hurt his left pinky finger while sliding into second base on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Here’s a look at the play Josh Rojas got injured on. #RattleOn
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) July 21, 2021
Lovullo said postgame that Rojas has a dislocated left pinky finger that was set back into place and he is being evaluated. He underwent testing/imaging and it’s unknown whether he will travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.
— RHP Tyler Clippard made his D-backs debut, throwing one scoreless inning and struck out one on 13 pitches (eight strikes) on the same day he was activated from the 60-day IL (sprained right shoulder).
“It’s been a long journey for him. I couldn’t be happier for the outing. I couldn’t be happier for him and all that hard work coming together at one time on this mound on this day,” Lovullo said. “We’ve had a lot of difficult conversations in spring training about his recovery and it’s well-versed.
“We know how long it has taken him. It’s an example of hard work and determination and never giving up or saying I can’t do something. Clip has done an unbelievable job making this day happen and I’m super happy for him.”
The Diamondbacks will get a day off before traveling to Chicago to take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday, with Zac Gallen on the bump.
First pitch is set for 11:20 a.m. Arizona time. Catch all the action on ESPN 620 AM.