D-backs make early statement in win vs. MLB’s top team, Rays

Jun 27, 2023, 11:09 PM | Updated: 11:13 pm

Corbin Carroll Diamondbacks...

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JUNE 27: Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Ketel Marte #4 and Geraldo Perdomo #2 after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Chase Field on June 27, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(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.

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.

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.

Up next

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 

Arizona Diamondbacks

NL Wild Card logo...

Arizona Sports

How does the NL Wild Card format, standings work for D-backs to make the postseason?

How many games are in an AL or NL Wild Card series? How many teams get in? And how does MLB playoff seeding work?

3 hours ago

Corbin Carroll...

Stephen Gugliociello

Diamondbacks president raves about Carroll, has zero concern on Hazen

After winning five-straight games at home, Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall talks about the team's hot play, among several topics. 

4 hours ago

Ketel Marte...

Arizona Sports

NL Wild Card standings: Diamondbacks fight for postseason berth

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a playoff hunt for the first time in years. After a cold July and early August, they are back in the race.

18 hours ago

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the first inning of the MLB g...

Dan Bickley

Diamondbacks seizing moment in final surge of regular season

The Diamondbacks are surging. They are having a moment. They are seizing the moment. They are again the talk of Major League Baseball.

19 hours ago

Merrill Kelly...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Merrill Kelly outduels ace Logan Webb in sweep over Giants

Merrill Kelly shook off an early home run to help the Diamondbacks sweep the Giants in two games at Chase Field.

21 hours ago

Corbin Carroll...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Corbin Carroll accomplishes rare 25-home run, 50-stolen base season

Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll became the first rookie to hit 25 home runs and steal 50 bases in a single season.

24 hours ago

D-backs make early statement in win vs. MLB’s top team, Rays