Zac Gallen leads D-backs to win over Rockies in Alek Thomas’ debut
PHOENIX — It took five innings for Arizona Diamondbacks’ top prospect Alek Thomas to deliver in his MLB debut, but the 22-year-old came through with a couple of nice plays to help the D-backs to a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Mother’s Day Sunday.
Thomas picked up his first catch in the outfield to start off the fifth and then added his first hit to lead off the bottom of the inning on a line drive double on the first pitch he saw.
“It felt great,” Thomas said after the game. “It was a crazy relief to get that first hit out of the way and it felt really good.”
His manager was pleased with the performance, too.
“He had a huge double off the wall for your first major league hit,” Torey Lovullo said. “It’s a great moment for him, great moment for his family.”
The offense provided support for starting pitcher Zac Gallen, who delivered another stellar outing without allowing a run for the third time this season.
“When you draw up a game plan, you want your starting pitcher to attack, give you a chance to win the baseball game,” Lovullo said. “Zac did a great job of that.”
Gallen got himself out of a couple of jams in the first and the fifth innings when the Rockies were able to put multiple batters on base. As soon as Colorado got a runner to third, the Arizona starter would respond with a strikeout to neutralize the threats.
“We’re just going out there trying to make pitches, hang zeros and give our offense a chance to squeeze some runs across,” Gallen said.
He finished with seven strikeouts, no walks and five hits allowed in seven scoreless innings en route to picking up his second win of the season.
“He’s getting ahead of batters every time, he’s pretty special,” rookie catcher Jose Herrera said after the game.
Herrera also had a special game as one of the key contributors for an Arizona team that improved to 15-14 on the year.
In the second inning, Ketel Marte laced a double to start things off. After a Geraldo Perdomo walk, Nick Ahmed brought Marte home on a single up the middle. Two batters later, Herrera earned his first career extra base hit and first career RBIs with a double down the first baseline to bring home Perdomo and Ahmed.
“I thought the key blow of the day was Jose Herrera’s double down the right field line that broke this game open,” Lovullo said.
Herrera batted .258 in the minors last season with 11 home runs but has been with the D-backs all season and made his 11th start on Sunday.
He could be in line for more playing time in the immediate future after catcher Carson Kelly was placed on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain retroactive to May 5.
Noe Ramirez and Joe Mantiply completed the shutout for the D-backs in the eighth and ninth.
After a slow start to the season, Marte is starting to heat up again.
The second baseman is riding an eight-game hitting streak with seven extra base hits in that span. The 2019 All-Star is 9-for-20 at the plate for a .450 average through six games played in the month of May.
“It seems like he has some of that swagger back,” Lovullo said before the game.
Marte finished 3-for-4 with one run scored in the game.
THOMAS HAS ARRIVED
Thomas’ highly anticipated debut did not disappoint. The No. 18 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline was named the D-backs’ prospect of the year in 2021.
Drafted in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Thomas cruised through the minors, spending two years at the Single-A level before splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
He delivered with a double going 1-for-3 with a run scored on Sunday.
“It felt good too, it was one of the better swings I had this year,” he said after the game.
The D-backs continue a nine-game homestand against the Miami Marlins on Monday at 6:40 p.m., as Humberto Castellanos (2-1) takes the mound for Arizona against Elieser Hernandez (2-1).
Catch the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.