D-backs cruise to beat Guardians behind another strong Gallen outing
Jun 16, 2023, 10:50 PM
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks bounced back from their skid with a 5-1 win on Friday over the Cleveland Guardians at Chase Field in front of 27,203 fans.
Arizona (42-28) looked to its ace, RHP Zac Gallen and his snake skin belt, to turn things around after dropping three straight against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gallen had slight velocity concerns entering the game after he was touched up in his last outing against the Detroit Tigers.
He dispelled any questions fans may have with a 1-2-3 first inning with his fastball reaching the mid 90s. He went on to retire the first nine Guardians (32-37) batters of the game in order.
“I think we can put that to bed. … I’m certainly feeling a semblance of how I want to feel,” Gallen said.
The righty laughed postgame and chalked up his drop in velocity in his previous start to the 8:30 a.m. first pitch in Detroit.
“You got that No. 1 that is your stopper after we have lost a few games in a row,” manager Torey Lovullo told reporters postgame.
“When you make quality adjustments after a tough couple of days, it is very pleasing. … It was nice to know Zac had the day he had today. I was kind of Zac watching and told him that after the first inning he set the tone with his fastball and had command for the pitch.”
Arizona’s offense once again struck in the first inning on an RBI double from Christian Walker that plated Ketel Marte from first base.
C-Walk puts one in the gap and Ketel runs alllll the way home. pic.twitter.com/zDX89i8rRb
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 17, 2023
Geraldo Perdomo hit a sacrifice fly in the second frame, and despite the Guardians threatening throughout the night, that was all Gallen needed.
The D-backs’ No. 1 pitcher entered Friday with astounding numbers at home, posting a 6-0 record with 0.96 ERA and .198 opponent average.
Friday was no different as Gallen mowed down the Cleveland lineup with 7.0 innings pitched, one earned run, seven strikeouts, six hits allowed and no walks.
His only blemish on the night was a solo moon-shoot by Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez in the fourth frame.
Gallen now has an 8-2 record with a 2.96 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 15 starts this season.
“I had to re-evaluate the last four or five starts,” Gallen said.
“I feel like I wasn’t really putting together a good game plan out there and just losing a little feel for the game. Tonight I just wanted to pitch off my fastball to get in the feel of the game.”
The D-backs worked back-to-back-to-back walks in the fourth inning — all with two outs — that led to Cleveland starter Touki Toussaint (former Arizona first-round pick in the 2014 draft) being pulled from the contest.
Arizona showed patience at the plate throughout the night that constantly saw runners on the base paths, recording seven walks, which is tied for its third most on the year.
Toussaint was called up to the team on Friday after Guardians original starter Tristan McKenzie was scratched from the start with elbow discomfort.
He finished the night with 3.3 innings pitched, three earned runs and allowed five walks.
The D-backs added insurance in the sixth courtesy to Pavin Smith and Corbin Carroll (heard of him?).
Carroll is just 99 games into his MLB career but heard loud “MVP” chants echo throughout the stadium during his last at-bat of the night.
Smith has been a hot topic of conversation as he has continued to bat lead off for the D-backs despite his batting average dropping below .200 and on base percentage nearing below .300 before Friday’s game.
Lovullo’s persistent faith in Smith paid off as the lefty went 1-for-3 on the night with a RBI and two walks in the lead off spot.
“That definitely gives me some confidence as I have been struggling as of late,” Smith told reporters postgame.
“I have been working on some things and seen improvements in the way i’m hitting the ball and just getting them to drop. … (I’m working on) getting back to myself, let the ball get a little deeper and go the other way.”
Scott McGough came in the ninth frame with a four-run cushion and recorded a 1-2-3 inning. In his last 13 appearances, McGough has thrown 17.2 innings, allowed six hits, no earned runs and has struck out 25 batters.
Lovullo mentioned that he expected McGough to struggle initially out of the gates as he came over from Japan and is still technically a rookie despite being 33 years old. But recently, Lovullo credited him for finding himself and some consistency.
The D-backs look to build off the first game victory over Cleveland as Tommy Henry takes on Shane Bieber at 7:10 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app or ArizonaSports.com.