D-backs slug Giants under .500 with home runs from Alcantara, Walker
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks slugged the San Francisco Giants under .500 (48-49) in a 7-3 win on Tuesday night at Chase Field despite striking out over twice as many times as they had hits.
The D-backs (44-53) found a way to score five runs on just two hits through the first five innings, both of which left the ballpark off the bats of Sergio Alcantara and Christian Walker. Arizona also managed to strike out 13 times out of its 24 outs (54%) on the night.
That’s largely due to the performance of Giants starter Carlos Rodón, who other than a couple big mistakes, was pretty dominant in his six-inning start. The lefty finished the ballgame having allowed five earned runs on just three hits — including the two aforementioned homers — one walk and one hit-by-pitch while striking out a total of 10 D-backs hitters on 99 pitches (67 strikes).
“He does a good job of mixing that good fastball with a slider,” Walker said of Rodón postgame. “For a lefty-righty matchup, it’s a challenging at-bat, the stuff just feels different when that heater has some ride to it.”
San Francisco’s bullpen continued the strikeout trend, as right-handed reliever Yunior Marte struck out three in his 1.1 innings pitched.
Diamondbacks pitchers also had their fair share of punchouts, with six pitchers combining to strike out nine Giants batters. D-backs starter Tyler Gilbert collected two of those in his four-inning outing in which he gave up two runs on four hits (one homer) and one walk on 71 pitches (44 strikes).
“He gave us everything that he possibly could,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “[Besides the two-run home run], I thought he was effective in changing speeds. I liked the changeup-curveball combination in a lot of key situations.”
Relievers Luke Weaver (three), Kyle Nelson (two) and Mark Melancon (two) added seven more punchouts for Arizona. In total, both teams combined for 22 strikeouts out of 51 outs (43%).
“Once the bullpen took over, giving up the one run over the last five is what gave us a chance to win this baseball game,” Lovullo added.
Despite the Giants out-hitting the Diamondbacks 7-5, San Francisco went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base while Arizona went 2-for-7 (.286) with RISP and left just three runners on.
After a Jake McCarthy fielder’s choice resulted in a runner on first and two outs, Alcantara broke up Rodón’s no-hitter with a two-run home run to left field to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead after two innings of play.
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) July 27, 2022
“Always nice when you’re kind of a role player, a bench player to come in and contribute the way he did,” Lovullo said of Alcantara. “That’s the hard work that he’s putting in behind the scenes.”
Arizona surrendered the lead the following half inning on a two-run blast by Wilmer Flores to tie the game at 2-2.
But the D-backs restored their advantage in the bottom half of the third with another clutch two-out hit off the bat of Walker, who was able to bring in Geraldo Perdomo and Carson Kelly — who reached on a walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively — for his first home run with two or more runners on this season.
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) July 27, 2022
“I felt like a couple hitters before me, something told me that he was going to try to challenge me with the fastball,” Walker said. “And the nature of my at-bats lately, I know I have to put a little extra focus on getting the barrel out there.
“I feel like I’ve been getting tied up a lot lately, so I really wanted to sell out to make sure first and foremost it was a strike, but being fastball timing. I think it was just dumb luck he happened to throw one inner half and I was ready for it.”
San Francisco managed to scrape across one more run in the sixth on a Brandon Belt double to cut the lead to 5-3. But Arizona canceled that out in the eighth with a David Peralta pinch-hit RBI triple and then added another insurance run the very next batter via a Ketel Marte RBI double to make it 7-3.
– Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy picked up the win (4-4) in his perfect 1.2 innings pitched, while All-Star lefty Joe Maniply also threw a scoreless 0.1 IP.
– Kelly’s 13-game hitting streak came to an end after going 0-for-2 with a walk, hit-by-pitch and two runs scored.
The D-backs go for the sweep over the Giants in the series finale on Wednesday at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2.
Arizona RHP Zac Gallen (5-2, 3.31 ERA) is scheduled to start against San Francisco RHP Logan Webb (9-3, 2.77 ERA).