Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s 4-hit night leads D-backs past Phillies

May 22, 2023, 6:41 PM | Updated: 7:02 pm

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a ...

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a home run during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 22, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

We are at the point with the 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks where we can expect a significant contribution from at least one member in the heart of the batting order, a fact that makes Arizona one of MLB’s best offensive teams two months into the season.

That was the driving factor in Arizona’s 6-3 win on the road over the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to another great performance at the plate from Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Gurriel was 4-for-4 with a solo homer, RBI double and two more singles.

Coming into the start of the week, Arizona joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in having four players with at least 140 at-bats and an OPS above .800, per Stathead. No other NL squad has more than two. That quartet for the D-backs is made up of Corbin Carroll, Gurriel, Ketel Marte and Christian Walker.

That group will often help make up the top five of the batting order and that level of consistency from the nearly everyday guys is really paying off.

Gurriel took his hitting streak to 15 games with a solo dinger kicking off a third inning that proved to be the difference-maker.

Back-to-back singles by Josh Rojas and Dominic Fletcher after the long ball then led to a Gabriel Moreno fielder’s choice on an error that left everyone safe.

The bases were loaded for shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and he continued his tremendous record with runners in scoring position. Perdomo came into the day with a batting average of .433 (13-for-30) in those situations and mashed a two-RBI double into right field to improve the number.

The switch hitter is in the middle of a remarkable turnaround at the plate. Due to injuries at the position last year, Perdomo was thrust into a big-time role of playing almost every day. In 148 games, he hit .195 and had an OPS of .547. Entering play on Monday, Perdomo was batting .317 with a .940 OPS through 36 games. He’s now at 23 RBI this season after just 40 in 2022.

There were still runners on second and third with nobody out but a Pavin Smith flyout to left was not deep enough to score Moreno. He tried anyway and was thrown out at home. The double play was followed by a Marte strikeout, a failure to further capitalize that could have loomed larger later in the game if not for the pitching success.

Smith’s solo dinger in the fifth provided an extra run to cushion the lead, as did Gurriel’s double in the eighth and Marte’s single in the ninth.

D-backs 25-year-old starter Tommy Henry, added to the rotation in late April after the release of Madison Bumgarner, got the better of the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler, a pleasant surprise for Arizona.

The left-hander Henry threw 5.2 innings and gave up four hits and two walks for two earned runs with five strikeouts. Henry’s lone damage on the night came from a pair of solo homers in the fourth inning. Those were the only two batters to reach scoring position against Henry.

Wheeler is one of the most consistent starters in all of baseball right now. From 2020-22, the right-hander was eighth in total outings going at least six innings or more with two earned runs or fewer, according to Stathead. It was 37 of his 69 starts and only 24 pitchers cracked 30 across that timeframe.

But Wheeler needed 108 pitches to get through six innings on Monday and gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk. His season ERA now sits at 4.11 after sitting below 3.00 each of the last three years.

It momentarily got hairy for the D-backs bullpen in the seventh but Philadelphia only got one run across. It was spotless from there, continuing a good run of form for that group. Six different relievers across the previous two games, both D-backs wins, combined for 7.2 innings pitched, one hit and three walks. On Monday it was two hits and three walks for a run.

Arizona is now 28-20, the top record in the wild cards standings and three games up on the third-place New York Mets (25-23). The D-backs’ third straight win has them threatening the Dodgers for the NL West lead as well. L.A. sat at 29-19 ahead of a contest in Atlanta on Monday night.

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