D-backs bring power bats on road trip, hit 5 home runs in win over Pirates
Jun 3, 2022, 7:22 PM | Updated: 9:30 pm
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The Arizona Diamondbacks brought their power bats with them to Pittsburgh in the first of a 10-game road trip on Friday.
In an 8-6 win over the Pirates (22-28), the D-backs (26-27) belted five home runs off the bats of Christian Walker, Alek Thomas (two), Ketel Marte and Jake McCarthy that brought home a total of six runs.
Walker started June the same way he left off in May with yet another dinger — his 14th of the season — to tie the ballgame up at 1-1 in the top of the second inning.
June is looking a lot like May for Christian Walker. 💪 pic.twitter.com/tPzuXiH3Gg
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 3, 2022
“It’s a good way to start the trip,” Walker told reporters postgame. “A lot of people contributed.”
Walker nearly hit another solo jack in the top of the sixth, but unfortunately for the D-backs 1B, he hit it to the deepest part of the PNC Park where it was caught at the warning track.
Misfortune has been a theme for Walker this season, as he has continually hit the ball hard, but either right at someone or just short of a home run.
It wasn’t the sharpest outing from Diamondbacks starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, but it was enough to get the win thanks to the run support from Arizona’s offense on the night.
The right-hander went five innings and allowed three runs — all of which came in the first three innings — on five hits and four walks to go along with two strikeouts across 89 pitches (53 strikes).
“He was in a bit of a fistfight,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo told reporters postgame. “It wasn’t the perfect outing for him, but he was doing everything he could to keep us in the game.”
Thomas had himself quite the day at the plate, as the rookie went 2-for-3 with two solo homers in addition to three RBIs, the other of which came via a sac-fly.
Alek Thomas to the river! pic.twitter.com/fpfGBK36op
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 4, 2022
“He’s doing a really good job,” Lovullo said of Thomas. “The thing is to keep him on edge, keep him hungry. That’s the main objective right now. He’s a good baseball player and he’s improving every single day.”
It also marks the first multi-home run of the outfielder’s MLB career.
“It’s pretty big because I haven’t hit two home runs in a game since high school,” Thomas told reporters postgame. “It gives me some confidence to say, ‘I can do this, I can be here in the major leagues for a good amount of time.’”
Joe Mantiply, Noe Ramirez, Sean Poppen and combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Kelly before J.B. Wendelken allowed a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to make it 8-6. Lovullo then brought on closer Mark Melancon to pick up his 11th save of the year.
The Diamondbacks take on the Pirates in the second of the three-game series on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Arizona RHP Zach Davies (2-3, 4.84 ERA) is scheduled to start against Pittsburgh RHP Roansy Contreras (1-0, 2.55 ERA).
The Associated Press contributed to this story.