D-backs make early statement in win vs. MLB’s top team, Rays
Jun 27, 2023, 11:09 PM | Updated: 11:13 pm
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks hadn’t recorded an out before taking a 4-0 lead over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, a battle between the top teams in the NL West and AL East.
Corbin Carroll and Christian Walker went back-to-back in a five-run first inning after starter Zac Gallen went 1-2-3 with eight pitches.
But Gallen’s second frame got away from him, as he allowed four runs after two walks, two wild pitches and a solo shot by Jose Siri.
The D-backs responded right back on a home run by Evan Longoria in the third, and Gallen rewarded the club with four more scoreless innings.
The D-backs (48-32) beat the Rays 8-4 to open the three-game series, a test for Arizona against MLB’s top team by record (54-28).
“It’s something that I don’t think we necessarily think about, but when you do play good teams like this and you have the the kind of game like we had today, I definitely think it has the ability to give you confidence going forward,” Longoria said postgame.
Gallen entered the game dynamite at home with a 1.00 ERA in 54 innings this year. The D-backs got more of the same from their ace minus the second inning at five frames, three hits, no walks and no runs allowed.
The second started with a five-pitch walk, a first-pitch double and another walk after Gallen got ahead 0-2. Two wild pitches followed and Tampa Bay was back in striking distance. They were both spiked curveballs to his glove side, as he said he failed to execute.
“That’s probably a situation where instead of going for the strikeout, be okay … maybe trading some runs for outs,” Gallen said.
Once he escaped the 30-pitch frame, he sat down 10 of the next 11 batters. By the sixth inning, Arizona led 7-4, and Gallen looked like he was headed back to the dugout with less than 90 pitches. But a Geraldo Perdomo error on a potential double play ball — his first error of the season — extended the inning.
The next ball found Perdomo, who made a nice play on the run for the second out, and Gallen reared back for a 94 mph heater past Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt to get his final hitter of the game.
Gallen teased Perdomo about costing him another inning while the shortstop apologized profusely. The ace credited Perdomo for producing after the error with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
In the dugout, manager Torey Lovullo and Gallen had a lengthy talk in which the manager praised his starter for gutting through the outing despite a tenuous inning.
“Torey picked me up pretty good there after the sixth inning, just kind of like, ‘Hey, that’s what the elite guys do. They’re not going to have seven shutout innings every time. You got to do your job of keeping us in this game, especially against a team like that,'” Gallen said.
The starter echoed that his job is to keep the team in the game, and Arizona never trailed on Tuesday.
The offense relied on the long ball to run up the score, hitting four against Rays starter Taj Bradley.
Carroll, Walker, Longoria and Ketel Marte continued their power surge this month, as the quartet has now combined for 23 home runs in 23 games in June.
The first inning rally started with Perdomo punching a jam shot to left with two strikes followed by a Marte walk.
Carroll came up and hitting a booming home run over the 407 marker in center field.
CORBIN CARROLL 3-RUN BLAST IN THE 1ST!!!
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 28, 2023
Walker’s homer just evaded the leaping glove of LF Randy Arozarena to get out, and the D-backs rallied for another run off a Gabriel Moreno sacrifice fly.
“I know we had an off day yesterday, we came out and played very energized baseball,” Lovullo said.
Longoria blasted a 436-foot-shot on a 2-0 cutter in the top of the zone. It was his first against the Rays, the team he spent the first nine seasons of his career with. By doing so, he became the 70th player to hit a home run against all 30 teams.
Oh yeah, Longo got *all* of that one. 😳 pic.twitter.com/mY1M8MAu3Q
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) June 28, 2023
He has homered in six of his last 11 starts, taking his other former team in the San Francisco Giants yard on Friday.
Marte’s homer in the fourth inning was his fourth in five games. He entered the game with a 1.087 OPS this month, the best on the team.
Lovullo credited Marte being healthy as a major reason he is thriving this season offensively. He also pointed to the veteran’s approach, particularly his ability to narrow in on his spots.
“He is checking off pitches that are not drivable,” Lovullo said. “At times, I know he gets into such a rhythm that he feels like he can can hit every pitch. I think he’s really getting fine focused into one area.”
Seven D-backs in the order produced their nine hits, and six players drove in runs.
The bullpen combination of Miguel Castro, Kevin Ginkel and Jose Ruiz did its job with three shutout innings.
The D-backs play for a series win on Wednesday night with Zach Davies on the hill against Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin.
First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.