ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Zac Gallen strikes out 11 in masterful start as D-backs blank Brewers

Apr 10, 2023, 10:46 PM

Starter Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the...

Starter Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Chase Field on April 10, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen was back to his peak 2022 form in a 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field on Monday night.

The D-backs right-hander tossed 7.0 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only four baserunners (three hits and one walk) while striking out a season-high 11 batters on 96 pitches (62 strikes).

“Felt a lot better, delivery started it to click a little bit. … Curveball started to feel a lot better too, so just kind of relied on that pretty heavily,” Gallen said postgame.

“Felt like I had a pretty good game plan that (catcher Gabriel Moreno) and I had drawn up pretty well, so just tried to roll with that.”

Gallen (1-1) was practically untouchable, getting hitters to whiff 17 times on 31 swings against offspeed or breaking balls. He also threw a career-high 40 curveballs in the outing, 10 of which produced swings and misses.

“I think it just kind of felt comfortable,” Gallen said. “Read the game, the flow of the game as the game goes on and just kind of see what the hitters are giving me. Felt like just using the curveball was the way to go.”

“Today was all about Zac Gallen. … It was just one of those days where everything was going for him and he was never out of any count,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said postgame.

“He’d get himself right back into it with any pitch any time. I just thought it was one of those typical Zac outings that you just sit back and enjoy the ride because those are fun games for everybody to watch.”

The Diamondbacks’ pitching staff recorded 15 of its 27 outs via strikeout (56%) while only allowing four Brewers to reach base on the night. Milwaukee failed to reach base in the final four frames while only completing more than three at-bats in an inning once, which came in the second.

That’s because the D-backs turned a double-play for the first two outs in the fifth before Moreno threw out Brewers’ Brice Turang trying to steal second to end the inning. Moreno has now caught all three runners trying to steal on him this season, and Arizona has thrown out 1-of-4 attempts on the year while successfully stealing 17-of-18 bases.

And while Lovullo maintains that the backend of the bullpen is still “fluid,” the combination of right-hander Scott McGough and lefty Andrew Chafin produced a perfect six up and six down. McGough earned his third hold of the year with one strikeout in the eighth before Chafin picked up his second save by striking out the side.

“The bullpen has been unbelievable,” Gallen said. “You got Chafin coming in here and just slamming the door, Scotty bounces back after that tough one in San Diego.

“(Miguel) Castro has gotten some really big outs for us, even Drey (Jameson). Guys have stepped up and kind of answered the bell so it’s been a lot of fun to watch really.”

Offensively, the D-backs got out to an early lead just two batters in on a Ketel Marte leadoff double followed by a Josh Rojas RBI single. It wasn’t until Christian Walker’s two-run home run — his second of the campaign — in the fifth that gave Gallen and Co. the three-run cushion they needed to cruise to victory.

“(Walker) had the big blow that broke the game open,” Lovullo said. “It’s just a good job hitting, staying on a ball.

“You talk about making statements and I feel like we did that early in the game. The first couple batters come up there, we score a run. So it was a good, clean game. Those are the games everybody enjoys. Play good defense, get a couple timely hits, get great pitching.”

The D-backs (7-4) have now won four in a row, are in sole possession of first place in the NL West and trail only the 10-0 Tampa Bay Rays for the most wins in all of baseball.

EXTRAS

With the Phoenix Suns having the week off until their first-round Game 1 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, Kevin Durant, Cam Payne and Co. were sitting about as close to the field and dugout as possible.

Durant was sporting a Corbin Carroll jersey and finally got to see the rookie take the field as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning.

“It was awesome,” Lovullo said. “I didn’t know they were there until about the seventh inning. I got a little starstruck myself.

“I went over there to say hello to (Durant) … and Cam Payne is a big fan. It looks like KD is turning into a big Corbin Carroll fan. I don’t think there’s anything cooler than having one of the greatest basketball players of all time putting on your jersey. That never gets old I’m sure.”

UP NEXT

The D-backs will host the Brewers (7-3) in the second of the three-game set on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.

Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (0-1, 3.86 ERA) is scheduled to start against Milwaukee righty Corbin Burnes (0-1, 9.64. ERA).

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Zac Gallen strikes out 11 in masterful start as D-backs blank Brewers