Zac Gallen nearly unhittable in Diamondbacks’ blowout win over Nationals
PHOENIX — Zac Gallen was nearly unhittable in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 10-1 blowout win over the Washington Nationals (31-64) in front of 17,819 fans at Chase Field on Friday night.
Gallen had a no-hitter broken up in the sixth inning on a broken-bat comebacker off the bat of Cesar Hernandez that deflected off the glove of the D-backs (41-52) starter.
He would finish the night with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings while only allowing two hits and three baserunners total (Sergio Alcantara error) on 97 pitches (67 strikes) en route to a quality start and his fifth win of the season (5-2).
“I felt like I had all four, five pitches today. I felt like I had pretty good command of them,” Gallen said postgame. “You’d like to think every time you go out there with four or five pitches, you could throw a no-hitter.
“I knew it was going on. I’m not one of those guys that ignores it. I kind of saw what was going on. But I felt pretty good with everything for the most part. Shockingly, probably the curveball was the one pitch that didn’t feel too great today but still just had to use it and not let them eliminate it.”
It wasn’t the sharpest outing from Nationals starter Patrick Corbin against his former team. Despite accumulating seven strikeouts in five innings, the lefty also gave up five runs (all earned) on eight hits (one home run) and one walk over 99 pitches (64 strikes).
Juan Soto garnered one of Washington’s three hits on the night in the seventh inning in his final at-bat against Gallen. Soto finished the ballgame 1-for-4 with a single to extend his career-high on-base streak to 27 games.
“I think it was all about Zac Gallen and his start today,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “Gives us seven scoreless, was looking like he could potentially throw a no-hitter and I was probably the most satisfied person when he did give up that hit. It’s a very stressful time for me when you’re talking about potential pitch counts and he had good stuff. … He set a tone for us.”
The D-backs opened the scoring with a four-run third inning thanks to four straight hits from the nine through three spots in the order. After two straight singles from Geraldo Perdomo and Carson Kelly — who hit leadoff for Arizona — a Jordan Luplow RBI single was followed up with a three-run home run by Ketel Marte to make it 4-0 Diamondbacks.
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) July 23, 2022
Kelly brought in Arizona’s next run with an RBI single that scored Daulton Varsho the very next inning. The leadoff-hitting catcher went 3-for-4 on the night with a double, two singles, an RBI and a walk.
“I just go out there and give it my all when I’m in there,” Kelly said postgame. “I take it moment by moment, pitch by pitch, move on from the good, the bad — whatever happens, move on from that and just take it one step at a time. … It was great to get a result but at the end of the day, just going to continue to keep working moment by moment.”
Varsho extended the Diamondbacks’ lead to 6-0 with a solo homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning. The 451-foot blast marks his 13th home run of the season, the second-most on the team behind Christian Walker’s 22.
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) July 23, 2022
Offensively, the Diamondbacks compiled their 10 runs on 12 hits and three walks while going 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base. Compare those metrics to the Nationals, who mustered one run on three hits and one walk while leaving four runners on base and going 0-for-1 with RISP.
Washington’s inefficiency at the plate on the night continued against Arizona’s bullpen, as right-handed reliever Ian Kennedy struck out two of the three batters he faced on 10 pitches in his first outing since July 3 after being reinstated from the injured list on Thursday (right calf inflammation).
“We got to keep grinding, we got to keep going,” Lovullo said. “We played a good game, but it’s one game. We got to enjoy it, we got to understand what we did right and continue to keep pressing on and (Saturday) will be a brand new day where I expect us to do it all over again.”
Marte finished the night 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple and four RBI in what was his first game at second base since June 15 after playing solely as a designated hitter in his last 21 appearances.
The D-backs host the Nationals in the second of the three-game set on Saturday at 5:10 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Arizona LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-9, 3.83 ERA) is scheduled to start against Washington RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 7.20 ERA).