D-backs have no answer for Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. in series finale loss
Aug 15, 2021, 5:47 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — In his first game since July 30, Fernando Tatis Jr. returned to the lineup for the San Diego Padres and made an immediate impact, tying his career-high with four hits as Zac Gallen and the Arizona Diamondbacks lost 8-2 in the finale of their four-game series.
Tatis Jr. went 4-for-5 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs.
“He’s great for the game,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Tatis.
“Considering everything that he’s gone through and the pain that I saw that he was in after the slide at third base and the ability to recover, gain some strength and then on day one against big-league pitching do what he did today was very impressive.”
Gallen, who was looking for his second win of the season and his first since April 25, wasn’t sharp in this outing, especially against Tatis.
He gave up a leadoff double in the first inning to the 22-year-old superstar, but he was able to pitch his way out of the inning without any runs scoring.
In the third inning, Tatis was batting leadoff again and sent a 2-1 slider from Gallen to the left field bleachers for his 32nd home run of the year.
But he wasn’t done yet. Tatis bullied Gallen again to lead off the fifth, hitting another solo home run to left field.
The Padres opened the game up and ended Gallen’s day in that inning when Jake Cronenworth went yard for a two-run blast that increased the lead to three.
Gallen finished the inning and lasted five. He gave up four earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
“Pretty much frustrating really,” Gallen said of his performance. “Today was probably one of the first days it felt like my delivery was feeling pretty good, pretty back to normal. Just made three mistakes that ended up in home runs.
“I just didn’t land enough breaking balls for strikes to get ahead in the count. I just had to come over the middle with fastballs (is) pretty much what it boiled down to.”
Lovullo called the outing “un-Zac-like.”
“That’s not who he is,” the D-backs manager said. “I know that he’s aware of that and I know he’s going to just come out pounding away at it for the next several days to make his next start as good as it can possibly be.”
The D-backs offense went through Josh Rojas, who continues to have a great season. He scored the team’s first run after hitting a single in the third and came home on a Ketel Marte RBI triple.
In the fifth, he kicked off the inning with a solo leadoff home run of his own, his 11th of the season. He went 3-for-4 at the plate with the home run, a double, a single, a run scored and an RBI, falling just a triple shy of the cycle.
Rojas has been on fire, reaching base safely in 13 of his last 17 plate appearances. He is hitting .488 with eight doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBIs and 10 walks in his last 13 games.
“He’s an unbelievable talent, he’s got a very good mindset and he is being rewarded with some good outcomes from all the hard work that he’s put in,” Lovullo said of Rojas’ performance in this series. “And those are the most gratifying times for all of us, especially Josh,”
Arizona is now 9-6 in their last 15 home games.
The D-backs have an off day on Monday before starting a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, but Arizona’s starting pitcher is still to be determined.
First pitch for that game is scheduled for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.