D-backs squander early lead with Zac Gallen on mound in 3rd straight loss
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks (37-47) lost their third game in a row on Friday night, all of which featured the D-backs having the lead or being tied in the sixth inning or later.
In a 6-5 loss to the National League West division rival Colorado Rockies (37-47) in front of 15,524 at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks squandered an early two-run lead before the bullpen gave up the go-ahead and winning runs in the latter stages of the ballgame.
D-backs starter Zac Gallen went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits, three walks and one hit-by-pitch while striking out seven Rockies batters on 86 pitches (48 strikes).
“You have a lead with Zac Gallen on the mound, you feel like you’re in a really good spot,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “But things kind of blew up on him in the fifth. He was 37 pitches into that inning and he just lost command of his fastball and you can see what happens.
“That’s how this game is. It unwinds on you in a hurry. He was just looking to make some pitches, he couldn’t. They ended up fighting through it and tying the baseball game and we couldn’t seem to really rally beyond that.”
After Gallen struck out Rockies DH Charlie Blackmon looking for the first out of the ballgame, left fielder Kris Bryant opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field to give Colorado an early 1-0 lead.
But Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas tied the game at 1-1 with a solo blast to lead off the bottom half of the frame off Rockies starting pitcher Chad Kuhl.
And the very next inning, Sergio Alcantara continued the home run derby with a two-run dinger to right field to give Arizona a 3-1 lead in his first at-bat back in the Valley since being claimed off waivers on July 5.
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“We jumped out to that early lead. I was happy for Sergio in his first game back, hits a big two-run home run to give us a lead,” Lovullo said. “I thought we had some quality at-bats, quality approaches and did a really nice job of creating an opportunity to score some runs.”
Both teams traded runs in the fourth inning to make it 4-2 in favor of the Diamondbacks, but the Rockies managed to score twice in the fifth despite only putting the ball in play twice in the inning.
After former Arizona State Sun Devil Brian Serven’s double put two runners in scoring position, Gallen got Blackmon to strike out for the third time in as many at-bats for the second out of the inning. But two straight walks and a hit-by-pitch to C.J. Cron — which resulted in the first baseman exiting the game — brought two runs across to score to tie the game at 4-4.
Gallen was able to limit the damage by striking out Ryan McMahon looking to get out of the jam, but the 37-pitch fifth inning would be the last for the right-hander as he exited the start with a no-decision.
“I’m not really sure,” Gallen said postgame of what happened in his fifth and final inning. “It’s pretty frustrating. Pretty deflating honestly. This is the third one in a row. I cruise through four or five and then the last inning I give up a big hit or big inning, whatever it is.
“So yeah, not really sure. Definitely something I’ve been trying to figure out what the deal is. So another thing added to the list that I have to dive into and see if I can figure out.”
Colorado starter Chad Kuhl also only went five innings on 87 pitches (50 strikes) and allowed four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four D-backs batters.
The Rockies took the lead in the top of sixth off D-backs RHP Sean Poppen on a Yonathan Daza fielder’s choice groundball to Christian Walker, who wasn’t able to get Jose Iglesias out at the plate. However, a collision with catcher Jose Herrera saw both players stay down and resulted in Inglesias having to exit the game while Herrera remained behind the dish.
Bryant extended Colorado’s lead to 6-4 in the top of the seventh inning with another solo blast to left center field off Arizona LHP Kyle Nelson after coming into the contest with only one home run on the season.
The Diamondbacks put their rally caps on in the bottom of the ninth and managed to push across a run on a Josh Rojas fielder’s choice groundout to first base that scored Geraldo Perdomo. And after Rojas stole second base to get the tying run in scoring position with two outs, Jordan Luplow hit a bullet right at Rockies shortstop Garrett Hampson for the final out of the ballgame.
Arizona left a total of six runners on base and went 2-for-9 (.222) with runners in scoring position, while Colorado left seven runners on and went 0-for-8 with RISP.
“All the way until the ninth inning we were playing good baseball and we built that inning and came very close to tying the score,” Lovullo said. “So I was proud of our guys that they didn’t shut down, but we have to find a way to close up the gap in the middle innings and make good things happen. Maybe extend a lead or play a little bit more catchup and not let things get into the situation where we wait until the final inning.”
The D-backs host the Rockies in game three of the four-game set on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Arizona LHP Madison Bumgarner (4-8, 3.74 ERA) is scheduled to start against Colorado LHP Kyle Freeland (4-6, 4.43 ERA).