Zac Gallen, Corbin Carroll lead Diamondbacks to 3rd straight win

May 30, 2023, 10:21 PM

Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches on the first inning against the Colorado Rockies...

Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches on the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on May 30, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Star power will take you far in all sports, especially baseball.

Two months into the 2023 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a fair amount stocked up. And in Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies, Zac Gallen and Corbin Carroll led the charge with two terrific individual efforts that combined into a breeze of a D-backs victory that marked three straight at Chase Field.

Gallen tossed six scoreless innings, grinding through five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Carroll homered, walked, stole two bases and scored twice.

On a night when Arizona’s three home runs made up all of the run production, D-backs (32-23) manager Torey Lovullo made sure to highlight a few other key defensive moments as well. There was catcher Gabriel Moreno containing a loose pitch on an at-bat that later turned into a double play and a few nice grabs in the outfield too.

“Those are the little things that I notice inside of the game that most don’t,” Lovullo said. “I love the homers but all that happens for a reason. It’s about preparation and hard work.”

It wasn’t the cleanest outing from Gallen. But part of what makes great pitchers great is their ability to have somewhat noisy evenings that result in minimal damage, and he was still tidy with his business.

Gallen’s line won’t reflect the work he did on both sides of the coin. A Rockies (24-32) hitter reached base each of the first five innings and in four of them they were in scoring position. Six balls hit off Gallen in those five innings were at 99 mph or more, including three north of 106 mph that were hits.

But Gallen shut it down. Colorado was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position off him.

“That’s what he does best and that’s what makes him so good, that he gets real stubborn and he slows the game down and he’s in total control of what’s going on per at-bat and he starts to make pitches,” Lovullo said of Gallen. “That’s one of his great ingredients, that he can lock it down even more.”

Lovullo and Gallen both credited the righty’s curveball getting going in the back-half of his time on the mound. That curveball was better than any other in the majors last season for run value, a metric that measures how each pitch thrown in a game impacts potential runs scored, per Baseball Savant.

“Curveball was big this week,” Gallen said of his prep coming into the start. “Felt like I was close, just didn’t feel like super great about it so really just tried to work on the curveball.”

In the fifth, Colorado’s Randal Grichuk sliced a two-out double down the left-field line 111 mph, the highest exit velocity of the night and the top-3 to that point all coming off Gallen. Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon was up next and has been white-hot, with a dozen hits in the last five games. He had singled and walked in his first two at-bats on Tuesday as well but Gallen caught him swinging on the final two strikes for a huge punch-out.

That was the second of three straight innings Gallen would record the third swinging strike in a strikeout off the aforementioned curveball.

“From where I was at, he had a gameplan and then made a tiny adjustment to it and got a really good feel for his curveball,” Lovullo said of Gallen.

A 1-2-3 sixth inning followed and helped Gallen get his third victory of May to improve his record to 7-2. Six of his seven strikeouts came in his last three innings.

After the D-backs scored three runs in the first inning, Carroll manufactured two in quite the one-man-show fashion.

He walked to begin the bottom of the fourth inning, and after Nick Ahmed flew out, Carroll would score on a sac fly. How? Well, your guess is pretty sound probably and speaks to how Carroll’s really got game-changing speed.

Carroll stole second and third base on consecutive pitches.

Carroll’s now got five multi-steal games this season, the most in the majors, per D-backs communications.

Moreno fell behind 0-2 off those but then fouled one pitch off before hitting a deep-enough fly ball to right so Carroll scored. Carroll’s 16 stolen bases now rank second in the National League.

In the sixth inning, it looked like Freeland was finding a rhythm to close out his night until he left a sinker over the plate and Carroll produced Arizona’s third homer of the night, this one of the solo variety.

Carroll, the guy with blazing feet, now has nine home runs on the season. He could very well reach 25 dingers and steals, something he’s on pace for that would make him the fourth rookie in MLB history to reach those thresholds. Seattle Mariners sensation Julio Rodriguez accomplished the feat last year, and the other two names are former D-back Chris Young (remember him?!) and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout (you certainly remember him!).

The 22-year-old Carroll, as they say, is worth the price of admission.

In the first inning, Freeland was behind 1-0 and left a fastball right over the heart of the plate for Ketel Marte. Marte mashed if off the left-field foul pole for a leadoff home run that extended his on-base streak to 28 games.

Three batters later with a runner on, Evan Longoria got a 3-1 count and saw a sinker hang over the zone. He crushed it 452 feet onto the concourse in left-center, as his success against left-handed pitching continued.

That plus Carroll’s impact put Freeland down for five earned runs in 5.2 innings off six hits and three walks.

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